Paul Ryan: 'Let's Make This Clear -There Is No Collusion'

Larry Hoffman
June 8, 2018

Ryan sided on Wednesday with a Republican congressman who had said that the F.B.I. did nothing wrong by using a confidential informant to contact members of President Trump's campaign as it investigated its ties to Russian Federation.

The comments contradict Trump, who has insisted the agency planted a spy "to help Crooked Hillary win". But three top Republicans who attended classified briefings on the subject last month, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have said there was no evidence of a political spy.

"I have seen no evidence to the contrary the initial assessment that Chairman Gowdy has made, but I want to make sure that we run every lead down, and make sure we get final answers to these questions", Ryan said.

"I don't know the technical answer to that question, but I think obviously the answer is he shouldn't and no one is above the law", Ryan said.

Ryan's comments about Trump's spy claims came days after Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) had expressed a similar assessment, and were later echoed by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.). "I'll leave it at that". Until Wednesday, no GOP lawmakers were publicly defending Gowdy, but Ryan opened the door for party members to openly criticize the president.

That briefing apparently included clarifying details on the FBI's handling of the informant in Trump's 2016 campaign.

Ryan, who is not seeking re-election, had a strained relationship with Trump during the campaign but has avoided taking a confrontational approach with him since he took office. "The sooner the Department of Justice complies with all of our document requests, which are legitimate document requests, the better this is going to be for everybody".

"We have some more documents to review".

Late Wednesday evening, a senior department official said the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation would offer an additional briefing to the so-called "Gang of 8" that includes bipartisan congressional leaders and the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Ryan said Congress has "more digging to do" and that he wished they had gotten the information earlier.

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". "We still have some unanswered questions", he said.

"Let me just tell you that from - from my perspective - I don't think the president needs any advice on pardoning himself", McConnell told reporters.

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