Dems after briefing: 'No evidence' spy placed in Trump campaign

Congressional Democrats said after a closed-door briefing with top Justice Department officials Thursday that there is "no evidence" that the FBI placed a spy in the Trump campaign, hitting back at a claim by President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE.

"Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols," Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse erupts in anger over Jan. 6 and Trump's role Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Lobbying world MORE (D-Calif.) told reporters. 

Schiff said he was reading the statement on behalf of House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers MORE (D-Va.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell pushes vaccines, but GOP muddles his message Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada Schumer blasts McCarthy for picking people who 'supported the big lie' for Jan. 6 panel MORE (D-N.Y.), who also attended the meeting.

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The statement came after FBI, Justice Department and intelligence officials held two meetings to brief lawmakers about an FBI informant who has become the latest controversy in the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

The informant reportedly had contact with three members of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has asserted without evidence that the Justice Department put a "spy" in his campaign. 

“Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn’t commit," Trump tweeted last week, quoting Fox Business Network anchor David Asman.

"Really bad stuff!" the president added.

Reps. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Lawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection Tucker Carlson claims NSA leaked private emails to journalists MORE (Calif.) and Schiff – the top Republican and Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, respectively – attended the first meeting at the Justice Department on Thursday, which was also arranged for Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece Cutting critical family support won't solve the labor crisis Juan Williams: Trump's GOP descends into farce MORE (R-Wis.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.).

The second meeting included members of the "Gang of Eight," which is composed of the Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate as well as the top Republicans and Democrats on the intelligence committees in both chambers.

Democrats blasted House Republicans and the White House over the first meeting, a closed-door briefing in which only Republicans were initially invited. It was later revealed that Schiff, the top House Intelligence Committee Democrat, attended both meetings.

Warner, leaving the broader bipartisan meeting, referred to the first briefing as "rogue." 

"I call the noon meeting a rogue meeting," he told reporters. "The Gang of Eight meeting ... I hope they will continue with that appropriate process on any kind of effort going forward."

In addition to DOJ, FBI and intelligence officials, Emmet Flood – a White House lawyer handling the Russia investigation – and White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE stopped by both meetings Thursday. 

“Neither Chief Kelly nor Mr. Flood actually attended the meetings but did make brief remarks before the meetings started to relay the President’s desire for as much openness as possible under the law," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Warner confirmed that White House staff left before the "substance" of the meeting started, but said their appearance at the meeting was itself unusual.

"Never seen a Gang of Eight meeting that included any presence from the White House staff," he said.

"Those individuals left before the substance began. Unusual times.”

– Katie Bo contributed reporting

Updated: 5:10 p.m.