Giuliani says Trump wants briefing on classified info
Saturday, May 26, 2018
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's legal team wants a briefing on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and may take it to the Justice Department as part of an effort to scuttle the ongoing special counsel probe.
Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's attorneys, told The Associated Press the White House hopes to get a readout of the information next week, particularly about the use of a longtime government informant who approached members of Trump's campaign in a possible bid to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway the election.
Trump has made unproven claims of FBI misconduct and political bias and has denounced the asset as "a spy."
"If the spying was inappropriate, that means we may have an entirely illegitimate investigation," Giuliani said of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. He then invoked the material compiled by former FBI Director James Comey before he was fired.
"Coupled with Comey's illegally leaked memos, this means the whole thing was a mistake and should never have happened," Giuliani said. "We'd urge the Justice Department to re-evaluate, to acknowledge they made a mistake. It's a waste of $20 million of the taxpayers' money. The whole thing is already a waste of money."
Comey has said he had the authority as a private citizen to ask a friend to share details from one of his memos with the news media, and has said he did nothing wrong. The Justice Department official who would be the one to receive any complaints from Giuliani would presumably be Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller last year in the wake of Comey's firing and was present for Thursday's briefings.
Suggesting the probe was launched on the backs of inappropriately obtained information was Giuliani's latest effort to discredit the investigation by painting it as a purely political event. The FBI began a counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 to determine if Trump campaign associates were coordinating with Russia to tip the election. The investigation was opened after the hacking of Democratic emails intelligence officials later formally attributed to Russia.
The two meetings held Thursday were sought by Trump's GOP allies in Congress and arranged by the White House, as the president has tried to sow suspicions about the legitimacy of the FBI investigation. Trump and his allies have focused on the use of the informant.
"What motivated putting him in? What sort of information were they seeking from him? What did they get?" Giuliani asked Friday. "They clearly did not get incriminating information or we'd have found out about it by now. And why did they hide it for so long? There's a big concealment that went on here for over a year since the president said he had been surveilled."
So far, 19 people, including Trump's former campaign chairman and former national security adviser, have been charged in Mueller's investigation. Three former Trump aides have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the investigation.