President Donald Trump’s outside lawyers still want to see the FBI’s documents about the informant who reportedly met with three members of the Trump campaign in 2016, despite a claim from Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy that a briefing about the informant left him “more convinced” that the FBI took appropriate actions in the case.
The lawyers, Rudy Giuliani told BuzzFeed News, plan to send a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “in the next day or so” asking to review all of the Justice Department’s documentation relating to the informant.
Giuliani lashed out at Gowdy — who isn’t running for reelection — for his comments, saying that his constituents “would probably be outraged at what he’s doing.”
He then veered off-topic, adding that those constituents “probably want to figure out what the hell he did with Benghazi.” Gowdy was the chair of the House committee that looked into the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that left four dead, including Christopher Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya.
“He sure screwed that one up. You got four families that do not think that Trey Gowdy did his job,” Giuliani said.
Regarding the Justice Department briefings last week that led to Gowdy's comments, Giuliani slammed the Democrats who participated in it and Gowdy — now the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. After the pair of meetings, Rep. Adam Schiff read a statement for the Democrats, saying that there was “no evidence” to support Trump’s claim that the FBI placed a “spy” in the Trump campaign.
Giuliani questioned the Democrats’ and Gowdy’s assessments, saying: “Well, they’re completely uninformed. They never looked at the documents. They were told a story by the Justice Department and the FBI, who, after all, would be the alleged wrongdoers. I don’t think they’ve ever reviewed, I don’t think that Gowdy has reviewed, the documents.”
Of Gowdy's comments, Giuliani said, “Well, thank you, let’s see that it’s nothing.”
A spokesperson for Gowdy did not respond to a request for comment.
Giuliani said the president’s lawyers would not discuss President Trump being interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller until the issue of the informant is resolved.
“We will not address the issue of an interview until we get a complete set of documents describing what happened with ‘Spygate,’” Giuliani told BuzzFeed News, using Trump’s word for the unsubstantiated claims that have grown out of the reporting on the informant. “We don’t get that, we effectively can’t move forward, and we’ll both have to go off on our own. That’s our position.”
That’s been Giuliani’s line to reporters for more than a week now. When Giuliani told BuzzFeed News that on May 23, he said he’d not yet formally requested the information, saying that Trump’s lawyers were letting congressional investigators work out their access first.
“We want the information,” Giuliani said on Thursday. “That investigation is over. So why the hell can’t we get it?”
Asked again if Trump’s outside legal team had requested to review the documents, Giuliani said they had not.
“We will. We will,” he said. “We’re working on it. … We haven’t yet, except informal conversations. We’ll make it a letter in the next day or so.”
The letter, he said, would go to Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia investigation due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal.
“We want to review all of the documentation they have for the investigation of what they call the spying on Russia and the spying — that led to the spying on the Trump campaign,” he said. He said the president’s attorneys have no plans to ask for the alleged informant’s identity — which has been reported in multiple outlets to be Professor Stefan Halper.
“Once we see what they’ve revealed,” Giuliani said of the documents, “I think we’ll need his identity even less, because I think it revealed bullshit. Which is why they don’t want to show it to us. This informant was a total waste of money, a total lark, a complete attempt to try to frame Trump, and it’s gonna show that he did nothing wrong. And that’s why they concealed it for a year.”
Schiff responded to the latest comments from Giuliani, saying the Justice Department should “refuse such unethical demands” in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News on Thursday night.
“Rudy Giuliani has effectively admitted that [House Intelligence Committee] Chairman [Devin] Nunes’ demand for information about the investigation is a charade designed only to obtain material for the Trump legal defense team,” Schiff said. “He now seeks to use the improper effort to obtain information about an investigation implicating the president as a justification to refuse to allow the president to testify.
“The Justice Department must refuse such unethical demands and the Special Counsel should ignore these defense tactics. If the president doesn’t voluntarily testify, he should be subpoenaed.”
Chris Geidner is a Supreme Court correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Chris Geidner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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