Dem leaders request bipartisan meeting on Russia probe

Dem leaders request bipartisan meeting on Russia probe
© Greg Nash

The top two Democrats in Congress are demanding that senior members of both parties be invited to any briefing from law enforcement officials on information related to the federal Russia probe.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhy President Trump needs to speak out on Hong Kong Anti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Pelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid MORE (D-Calif.) sent a letter on Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWhy the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing Rosenstein: Trump should focus on preventing people from 'becoming violent white supremacists' MORE saying that if they are intent on holding a meeting it should be with the "Gang of Eight," which includes top Democrats and Republicans in both chambers and senior members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees. 

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"If you have determined in your best judgment that Justice Department participation in the meeting is the only way to prevent this situation from devolving into an outright constitutional crisis, then we believe you must insist on the only appropriate mechanism for highly sensitive briefings that might implicate intelligence sources and methods — a bipartisan Gang of Eight briefing," Schumer and Pelosi wrote.

The letter comes a day after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that no Democrats were invited to the meeting, scheduled for Thursday, about a confidential FBI source who has emerged as a lightning rod for controversy in the Russia probe.

Instead, Sanders said, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesJuan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America Trump expected to nominate Texas GOP lawmaker to replace Dan Coats: report House Republicans claim victory after Mueller hearings MORE (R-Calif.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump MORE (R-S.C.) will meet with Wray, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and top Justice Department official Ed O'Callaghan.

Schumer and Pelosi added in their letter that the meeting, as it is currently set up, would be "completely improper" and would create the appearance of the president trying to leak national security secrets.

"Such a meeting would be highly irregular and inappropriate during any open criminal or counterintelligence investigation, much less one involving the president," they wrote.

In addition to Democrats, Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation Trump health official: Controversial drug pricing move is 'top priority' Environmental advocates should take another look at biofuels MORE (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, and GOP Sens. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters Democrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE (Texas) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPelosi warns Mnuchin to stop 'illegal' .3B cut to foreign aid Graham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid MORE (S.C.), both members of the panel, sent a letter to Rosenstein and White House chief of staff John Kelly asking that they be included in the meeting with Nunes and Gowdy.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE and his allies have been pushing in recent days for more details about the FBI source, who apparently met with several Trump campaign aides during the 2016 presidential race.