Rosenstein meets with Ryan about Russia investigation

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray met with Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday about the House Russia investigation, a GOP aide confirmed.

Rosenstein, escorted by his security detail, walked by a number of reporters who were staking out budget negotiations between top White House officials and top congressional leaders.

The meeting in the Speaker’s office came at the request of Rosenstein and Wray, the aide said. 

“Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray asked to meet with the speaker and we accommodated the request,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in an email. “I’d refer you to their offices for anything further.”

No other information about the meeting and what was discussed was immediately made known.

The Wednesday meeting in the Capitol comes amid an intense feud between House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Lawmakers grapple with deepfake threat at hearing MORE (R-Calif.) and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

For months, Nunes has lashed out at DOJ over what he argues is a deliberate failure to respond to requests for information on the so-called “Steele dossier.”

In a letter to Rosenstein last week, Nunes blasted the department’s initial response as “disingenuous at best,” claiming that “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”
 
The latest deadline for his request was Wednesday.
 
Late Wednesday night, Nunes said that DOJ had agreed to provide the Intelligence Committee with "access to all the documents and witnesses we have requested." The deal was announced after a conversation between Nunes and Rosenstein, the chairman said.
 
"The committee looks forward to receiving access to the documents over the coming days," Nunes said in a statement.

Nunes did not attend the meeting in Ryan's office, a GOP aide said. 

The dossier — an unverified opposition research document into then-candidate Trump that alleges a constellation of contacts with Russia during the campaign — has become a flashpoint in the various investigations into Moscow’s attempt to swing the 2016 election.

A small but vocal group of GOP members have suggested that the FBI weaponized the dossier in order to launch a trumped-up investigation into Trump.

Nunes in August issued two identical subpoenas to the Justice Department and the FBI demanding that the agencies hand over information about the dossier and the bureau’s relationship to its author, a former British spy named Christopher Steele.

In the months since, he has threatened to hold Rosenstein and Wray in contempt of Congress. He has also threatened to drag Sessions and Wray before the committee for a public appearance “to explain under oath DOJ’s and FBI’s unwillingness or inability to comply in full with the subpoenas issued on August 24.”

Committee Democrats have pushed back against the subpoenas, saying that they were issued solely by the chairman and without first making the request voluntary in written form to agencies.

The House Intelligence committee is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, a probe that Nunes stepped back from leading in April due to an Ethics Committee investigation into whether he inappropriately disclosed classified information. 

Nunes did not completely recuse himself from the probe, however. Democrats have complained that he continued to exert influence behind closed doors despite the nominal leadership of Rep. Mike ConawayKenneth (Mike) Michael ConawayOn The Money: House chairman issues subpoenas for Trump's tax returns | Trump touts trade talks as China, US fail to reach deal | Five things to know about Trump's trade war with China | GOP offers support for Trump on tariffs GOP offers support for Trump on China tariffs On The Money: New tariffs on China pose major risk for Trump | Senators sound alarm over looming budget battles | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders team up against payday lenders MORE (R-Texas), and he continued to pursue the investigation into the dossier.

The Ethics Committee ended its investigation of Nunes last month and cleared him of wrongdoing.

The meeting Wednesday came a few hours after Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, filed a lawsuit challenging the authority of special counsel Robert Mueller as well as the Justice Department and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who gave the order last year that launched the special counsel investigation.