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John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, who Trump asked to help organize the meetings, attended both sessions, as did Emmet T. Flood, a lawyer representing Trump in the Russian Federation investigation.
Trump's embattled attorney and fixer - who is under federal investigation for a range of potential crimes, including campaign finance violations related to his Stormy Daniels payout - apparently met with a Kremlin-connected oligarch shortly before the inauguration, the New York Times reported Friday.
"Meanwhile, the Associated Press revealed this week that the president recently told a confidante that he wanted "'to brand" the informant a "spy, ' believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public'".
The White House later said in a statement that Kelly and Flood made brief remarks at the beginning of the meeting to "relay the President's desire for as much openness as possible" and departed before it actually began. At the second briefing on Capitol Hill were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Schumer, Pelosi, and the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Fired by President Trump in May 2017, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director said he doesn't believe a spy was inserted into the Trump campaign by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any intelligence agency. "We did not use the dossier as a source for the intelligence community assessment, that's point one", Clapper said. He said the effort was to protect the US political system and "protect the campaign".
Kelly and Flood's presence was notable, as it contradicted White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders's assertion no one from the White House would attend.
"To my knowledge, the Democrats have not requested that information, so I would refer you back to them on why they would consider themselves randomly invited to see something they've never asked to, " Sanders said Tuesday.
While Yates would not comment on the allegations of spying, deferring comment on the investigation to the Justice Department and FBI, she said she was confident the investigation would bear out the truth. In the past, Nunes has refused to sit for briefings with Schiff.
"[There is] a big gulf between a spy in the traditional sense-employing spycraft or tradecraft-and an informant who is open about ... who he was and what the questions he was asking", Clapper said on PBS Wednesday.
For instance, Halper penned a July 28, 2017 "Dear Carter" e-mail, assuaging him that new White House controversies may have taken pressure off him. Schumer was apparently referring to Nunes as a "known partisan" and to Robert Mueller, the special counsel now leading the Russian Federation investigation.