Paul Ryan Boldly Rejects Trump’s War on the FBI, Which He Enabled

Schaff for The New York Times

At issue was the speaker's defense of the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier in the day for pursuing information from an informant in President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign about Russian interference and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

In offering a third briefing, the Justice Department is trying to blunt criticism from the House conservatives who have repeatedly pressed for documents and questioned the department's conduct in the Russian Federation investigation.

Ryan also said he doesn't think Trump "should" pardon himself.

Gohmert isn't the only Trump-supporting House Republican who feels that Gowdy and Ryan's comments represent a betrayal.

"I think Chairman Gowdy's initial assessment is accurate, but we have more digging to do", Ryan said. The full Gang of Eight - which includes the Republican and Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, as well as the top Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence committees - received the same briefing later the same afternoon. "President Trump and Russia", Ryan said at his weekly news conference.

Even after Gowdy said there's nothing to Trump's allegations, the White House has sought to keep the waters muddy. Then another Spygate rejection burst forth from GOP Representative Tom Rooney, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee.

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Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) mentioned that there's "a prevailing opinion that a President of the United States can exercise the power of pardon on himself".


Tension between Congress and the Justice Department over the informant matter has been bubbling for weeks.

Both Gowdy and Ryan said publicly that during a recent classified briefing, they received no information substantiating Trump's claims, which the president has repeatedly invoked on social media and during his speeches in an effort to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of his campaign. But they eventually relented after pressure from Trump, Nunes and Ryan. On Thursday, Trump also launched a fresh wave of attacks against Mueller's probe - or the "Witch Hunt Hoax", as he called it - attempting to paint it as "biased and conflicted".

"That will not change", Giuliani said of his insistence on seeing the documents. Nunes has said the committee is still waiting for documents, and Ryan backed him on that Wednesday.

The FBI was looking into Russian interference in the USA election and that line of inquiry led them to Trump, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed those remarks Tuesday, telling reporters Trump should not consider pardoning himself if it came to that.

Burr, however, appeared ready to move on, saying the briefing he attended "sufficiently covered everything to do with this right now". "You know what I'm saying?"

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