The White House held a pair of classified briefings Thursday with senior congressional leaders on the FBI's use of a confidential informant to investigate alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign. But, after complaints by both parties, they added a second session for top Democrats and Republicans.
Schiff, who made the statement on behalf of the Democrats in the meeting - including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - wouldn't answer any questions or divulge any other information from the meeting, except to say that there was nothing said that indicated wrongdoing.
The president has suggested otherwise in a storm of tweets, including one on Thursday proclaiming that "SPYGATE could be one of the biggest scandals in history!" "And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said", reports the far-left New York Times". Critics, including top congressional Democrats, argue that Republicans want to use the information to undercut the Russian Federation investigation, which is now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
"I look forward to the prompt completion of the intelligence committee's oversight work in this area now that they are getting the cooperation necessary for them to complete their work while protecting sources and methods", Ryan said.
And given how much politically damaging information federal authorities possessed about the Trump campaign before Election Day - and chose not to disclose - the president's charge does not even make logical sense.
Emmet Flood, the White House attorney dealing with the Russian Federation investigation, attended part of the classified briefing and was spotted leaving the DOJ headquarters alongside House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Now, the president is publicly arguing that this informant was not an FBI asset assisting in a legitimate counterintelligence investigation - but rather, a "spy" that the Obama administration embedded in his campaign "for political purposes."
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., attended the briefings and called Flood's presence "completely inappropriate", a sentiment he did not hide from Flood during the briefings.
An investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the disclosure of onetime Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame shook the George W. Bush White House.
"The Democrats are now alluding to the the [sic] concept that having an Informant placed in an opposing party's campaign is different than having a Spy, as illegal as that may be", the president wrote in a series of tweets. Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy were going to receive the briefing. But in the past 24 hours, fears about the substance of the meeting have taken a back seat to political bickering about the guest list.
Democrats objected after Sanders announced Tuesday that they would not be invited, and a trio of influential Republicans - Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa, Sen. 13 Angry Democrats, and all Dems if you include the people who worked for Obama for 8 years.
Late Wednesday night, those involved agreed on a briefing for Nunes and Gowdy, and then a briefing for the Gang of Eight immediately after.