The Department of Justice is expected to provide a bipartisan group of eight top lawmakers previously unseen documents and information related to the FBI investigation into Russian election meddling in a classified briefing next week.
The briefing, first reported by CNN, will be attended by the top Democrat and Republican in each chamber of Congress, as well as senior members of both chambers’ intelligence committees. It represents a Justice Department concession to Republican demands for transparency, which culminated last month in House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’s issuing a subpoena demanding documents related to Stefan Halper, an academic who aided the FBI probe into Russian meddling by meeting with at least three Trump campaign aides prior to the election.
In late May, The Justice Department held a similar briefing, brokered by the White House, which provided senior Democrats and Republicans information about the FBI’s process in investigating contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Lawmakers are expected “to review certain supporting documents that were made available during the prior briefing,” a senior Justice Department official told the Washington Post. The Justice Department is “prepared to brief members on certain questions specifically raised by the speaker and other members. The department and FBI will also provide the documents that were available for review but not inspected by the members at the previous briefing, along with some additional material,’’ according to the official.
After viewing classified materials during the late May briefing, Republican representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina publicly contradicted President Trump’s oft-repeated “Spygate” accusation, saying the FBI acted properly in pursuing leads related to contacts between Trump campaign aides and Russian officials. House speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Gowdy’s characterization of the probe Wednesday, reiterating that the FBI did “exactly” what it was charged with doing in deploying Halper as an informant.