Contradicting Trump, Ryan agrees no evidence of campaign spy

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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan publicly broke with President Trump Wednesday, backing Rep. Trey Gowdy's earlier comments that the Federal Bureau of Investigation acted properly by using an informant to interact with the Trump campaign. Mr. Ryan backed Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of SC, who pursued Hillary Clinton as the chairman of a special select committee on the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, but infuriated some Republican partisans by rebuffing Mr. Trump on "Spygate". We still have some unanswered questions ...

The committee released a final report in April that criticized Donald Trump's presidential campaign for "poor judgment and ill-conceived actions" in dealing with the Russians but concluded that there is no evidence it colluded with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.

Ryan told reporters he's seen "seen no evidence to the contrary" of Gowdy's assessment that no such spy was planted.

In another tweet he called Mueller's appointment by the Department of Justice in 2017 "totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL". Then another Spygate rejection burst forth from GOP Representative Tom Rooney, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee.

The move comes as Republican congressional leaders are publicly disputing President Donald Trump's claims that the government planted a spy in his 2016 campaign "to help Crooked Hillary win" - a reference to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Ryan also said that even if Trump has the legal authority to pardon himself, that's not something he should do because "no one is above the law". "It would have been helpful if we got this information earlier".

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Still, Ryan has pushed for more documents on the matter, and the Justice Department said late Wednesday it would give lawmakers a third briefing on the use of the informant. "Normally I don't like to comment on classified briefings".

Officials are expected to meet early next week with the leaders of the full House and Senate and the chambers' intelligence committees - the "Gang of Eight" - a senior Justice Department official said.

Authors information: Karoun Demirjian is a congressional reporter covering national security, including defense, foreign policy, intelligence and matters concerning the judiciary.

Hours after Ryan's comments, Burr told The Associated Press that he, too, agreed with Gowdy.

Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee who is retiring at the end of his congressional term, concluded last week after attending a classified briefing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation acted appropriately in the probe. Likewise, White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation has thus far failed to find any evidence of collusion, a year after it began. "Today for the first time I was hearing colleagues say if Speaker Ryan won't stand with us in this fight over the essentials of our democracy, not weaponizing [the] intelligence community against the presidential campaign, do we need to look at other choices?"

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