While Democrats were not invited by the White House to attend a classified briefing between two Republican committee chairs and top intelligence and law enforcement officials on Thursday, they will be invited to to attend a similar planned meeting in the future, ABC News first reported Wednesday.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will proceed as previously scheduled. A separate meeting of the bipartisan Gang of 8 [the majority and minority leaders in both the House and Senate, and the leaders from both parties of each chamber’s intelligence committee] with DOJ, law enforcement and intelligence officials is being planned following the Memorial Day recess,” White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah told the outlet.
It was not clear from the report, nor from Shah’s statement, whether the bipartisan meeting will include information on an FBI informant who reportedly made contact with several Trump campaign staffers prior to the 2016 election, a recent fixation of Trump’s.
The White House has faced intense criticism for only inviting Republicans — House intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) — to Thursday’s meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Ed O’Callaghan, the principal associate deputy attorney general.
The White House announced Monday that chief of staff John Kelly would arrange Thursday’s meeting after Trump finished a meeting with Wray, Coats, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
On Sunday, Trump “demand[ed]” on Twitter that the Department of Justice investigate the Russia investigation itself, and specifically the reported FBI informant.
The Department of Justice subsequently confirmed that it had asked its inspector general “to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”