Giuliani confirms that “Spygate” was never anything more than an effort on the part of Trump to find out what evidence Mueller has collected against him thus far

Remember how, yesterday, we were discussing the fact that Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, in spite of recusing himself from the Russian investigation this past April, when a House ethics investigation determined that he’d been sharing classified materials relating to the Mueller investigation with members the Trump administration, was attempting to get more information about the case from the Department of Justice by creating yet another fake scandal and demanding an opportunity to question members of the intelligence community? Well, the gambit worked, and Nunes and others were briefed about the investigation this morning by representatives of the FBI and Department of Justice. Apparently, though, it wasn’t just members of Congress in the meeting.

Two days ago, as you may recall, when White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked whether the Trump administration would attempt to have anyone from their team sit in on the meeting, she responded by stating definitively, “No one from the White House staff will attend.” Well, that’s not exactly how things played out.

In the following photo, taken in the basement of the Capitol, you can see White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Attorney Emmet Flood entering one of today’s two briefings. [The two men attended both briefings, which were scheduled back-to-back. The first of these briefings had been intended for just Republican Congressmen Nunes and Gowdy. The second was to be for the so-called Gang of Eight, which includes both Republican and Democratic leaders, as well as members of the House and Senate intelligence committees.]

Huckabee Sanders, who said recently that being called a liar “bothers” her, issued a statement saying essentially that, while she may have technically lied when she said that members of the administration wouldn’t be attending the meetings, it was only a little lie, as they didn’t stay for long, and were only there to reiterate how much Donald Trump supported the investigation and respected the rule of law. “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,” she said.

I don’t know that it really matters, when we know for a certainty that anything Nunes found out about the investigation during the briefing would have immediately find its way to Trump’s defense team anyway, but having the President’s attorney and Chief of Staff in these meetings, if only for a short time, certainly illustrates just how far we’ve already slid down the slippery slope. As Congressman Adam Schiff said after the meetings, “Emmet Flood’s presence and statement at the outset of both meetings today was completely inappropriate, and I told him so.” The Congressman then went on to say, “It only underscores what Rudy Giuliani said: the President’s legal team expects to improperly obtain and use such information for their defense.” And, here, in case you missed it, is what Schiff is referring to when he brought up Giuliani.

So, by Giuliani’s own admission, the Trump legal team intends to use what they found out about as a result of today’s intelligence briefings… which is exactly what we thought would happen. As we discussed yesterday, this was never about whether or not the Obama administration had, as Trump suggested, placed a “spy” within his campaign to help Hillary Clinton. This was always about muddying the water and finding out as much as they could about the crimes Mueller and his team had already found found evidence of, in hopes that they might better plan their aggressive attack strategy.

And, meanwhile, Trump continues to sew discord, using his state propaganda network to spread disinformation and impugn the characters of those civil servants who are laboring to hold our democratic institutions together…. This, my friends, is what the end of democracy looks like.

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  1. The Hill
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    McConnell after classified briefing on Russia probe: I support Mueller’s investigation

  2. Jean Henry
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Yes, but GOP Congresspeople up for re-election are not supporting Mueller’s investigation and are calling for it to be stopped.
    McConnell is suddenly the principled moral center of the GOP. That’s incredible.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The worst of the Senate is still better than the best of the House. Trey Gowdy, who led the Benghazi “investigation”, is now the voice of reason in the House. That should tell you something.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Trump is still at it this morning:

    “The Democrats are now alluding to the the concept that having an Informant placed in an opposing party’s campaign is different than having a Spy, as illegal as that may be. But what about an “Informant” who is paid a fortune and who “sets up” way earlier than the Russian Hoax?”

  5. Posted May 25, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I know that it’s a tactic to wear us out with all the information, disinformation, innuendo, bald faced lies and half truths, but I’m old and have a really hard time keeping up. Thanks, Mark for lending some context and explanations for us geezers.

  6. Citywatch
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    “Me thinks he doth protest too much.”
    This smells of fear and deception on Trumps part.
    He is like a skunk being chased as the attacker closes in. However, he has all the state and national media to spread his Spygate bullshit for him. It is the latest bright and shiny object. He has been very successful with this deflection tactic so far. Whatever happened to “p___y grabbing”, tax returns, Stormy Daniels and the attorney who paid her off, Trump University, not signing off on his business dealings, his support of the NRA in the face of school shootings, the school shootings themselves, and so many other things. Now we are lost in this.

  7. Meta
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Adam Schiff said that nothing came out during these meetings to indicate that a “spy” was placed in the Trump campaign.

    “Nothing changed our view that there is no evidence to support allegations FBI placed a ‘spy’ in the Campaign, or otherwise failed to follow procedures.” – Adam Schiff

  8. CNN's Kaitlan Collins
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Sarah Sanders didn’t give a yes or no answer when asked if John Kelly and Emmett Flood got a readout of the briefings yesterday, only saying, “They didn’t participate in the meeting and they weren’t part of that process.”

  9. CNN's Manu Raju
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Sarah Sanders on Tuesday on DOJ briefings on confidential FBI source: “No one from the White House staff will attend.”

    Sarah Sanders today to @kaitlancollins: “If you look back at my comment, I said no one’s expected to attend the briefing and that’s actually still correct.”

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted May 25, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who has ever known someone who evades the truth can smell Sanders a mile away. I assume that’s most of us. She’s squirrelly as hell. The people who believe her are those inclined to believe her. On the other hand, it’s her job to evade telling the truth. Maybe my standards have just dropped, but didn’t they all do this? The whole White House press conference thing feels like a dog and pony show. How much news comes out of that joint. It’s like we watch to watch them squirm when confronted, to catch them lying.Gotcha! What kind of perverse satisfaction is that? We learn nothing. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope so.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted May 27, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    And now Guliani wants any classified information shared at the meeting released to the White House. Apparently they aren’t getting what they need from Nunes.

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