White House planning to invite Democrats to a DOJ briefing on classified documents
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The White House confirmed Wednesday it is planning for a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders, known as the “Gang of 8,” to receive a highly-classified intelligence briefing on the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling, reversing plans to exclude Democrats altogether.
ABC News first reported the plans to hold a separate briefing for Democrats, citing multiple administration and congressional sources.
While details of the bipartisan meeting are still being worked out, a Republican-only briefing will go on as scheduled Thursday.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will proceed as previously scheduled. A separate meeting of the bipartisan Gang of 8 with DOJ, law enforcement and intelligence officials is being planned following the Memorial Day recess,” White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement.
The briefing for the GOP lawmakers will be conducted by officials from the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Director of National Intelligence, according to the White House.
The bipartisan “Gang of 8” includes the Republican and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate as well as the respective party leaders from the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The briefing comes as after the president issued a ‘demand’ that the Justice Department investigate unproven allegations the FBI spied on his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump and his congressional allies, led by House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes R-Calif., believe secret FBI documents will shed light on those allegations.
The FBI has, until now, resisted turning over the documents for fears of revealing confidential sources and methods.
Trump’s demands for an investigation followed media reports that said the FBI used an informant to make contact with members of his campaign, only after the agency obtained information that members of the Trump team had suspicious contacts with Russians during the 2016 election.
Earlier Wednesday, the Senate’s top Democrat, New York’s Chuck Schumer, formally requested the Justice Department include the “Gang of 8” or reconsider holding the meeting altogether.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will proceed as previously scheduled. A separate meeting of the bipartisan Gang of 8 with DOJ, law enforcement and intelligence officials is being planned following the Memorial Day recess.” – Raj Shah WH Principal Deputy Press Secretary
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