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In an interview with Politico, the former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is also representing Trump, said that information from the meeting could help accelerate the investigation.

The assumption that the FBI/DOJ infiltration, if in fact it happened, was for political purposes sounds like yet another Trump paranoia created to distract attention from the Mueller investigation.

Federal law enforcement responded by launching an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the possibility that members of the Trump campaign colluded in that effort.

The mere existence of a government informant in an investigation doesn't mean a probe is tainted.

THE BOTTOM LINEConservative pundits say liberals would be outraged had the Federal Bureau of Investigation put Obama's campaigns under surveillance.

'They were spying, a term I don't particularly like, on what the Russians were doing, ' he said, 'trying to understand, 'Were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage and influence?' - which is what they do'.

The Justice Department announced it will host the first briefing at noon on Thursday with those two Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., followed two hours later by the bipartisan briefing.

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The president went on to warn Democrats, saying what goes around comes around. Speaking on behalf of the Democratic faction of the Gang of 8 Rep. Schiff said, "Today's Gang of 8 briefing was conducted to ensure protection of sources and methods". No evidence has emerged to show that Obama-era authorities placed an informant inside the Trump campaign.

Giuliani also said the president was unlikely to make changes at the Department of Justice and had no intention of firing Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Attorney General Jeff Sessions - all three of whom have come under sustained attack from the president.

But Obama-era intelligence officials such as former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper blasted Trump for demanding accountability and transparency while claiming any spying was done for national security purposes.

There was at least one indication the latter was a consideration - in an interview with Politico, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Thursday, "We want to see how the briefing went ... and how much we learned from it".

Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, says there is still not one shred of evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters about allowing the release of a secret memo on the F.B.I.'s role in the Russian Federation inquiry, during a meeting with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Washington.

The president demanded the Justice Department investigate the accusations and turn over any relevant documents to Congress. Trump has routinely broken norms about how the White House interacts with the Justice Department, which is supposed to have a degree of independence. Neither Kelly nor Flood was present for the meetings themselves, according to the White House. But NPR and other news outlets have identified him as Stefan Halper, a retired professor who served in several Republican presidential administrations.


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