Speaker Ryan Dismisses Trump’s Charges of a Spy in His Campaign

Speaker Ryan Dismisses Trump’s Charges of a Spy in His Campaign

Some Republicans are furious about the president’s efforts to lift sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. In the House, two dozen Republicans are demanding votes on legislation that would help young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, but are balking at the president’s get-tough demands on other immigration matters. And Iowa’s two Republican senators, Charles E. Grassley and Joni Ernst, came out swinging this week against the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, whom Ms. Ermst called “as swampy as you get.”

But for Republicans, no issue is more divisive than the Justice Department probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump has seized on the disclosure of the use of an informant to claim, without evidence, that federal law enforcement officials had improperly placed a spy in his campaign “for political purposes.” He demanded a Justice Department inquiry of the matter and dubbed the matter “SPYGATE” in repeated posts on Twitter.

Mr. Ryan became the highest-ranking Republican to throw cold water on that interpretation, which Democrats and former high-level law enforcement officials have claimed is part of an unrelenting effort to discredit the ongoing investigation into Mr. Trump and his campaign. Mr. Ryan backed Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, who led the House’s politically charged investigation into the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, but infuriated some Republican partisans by rebuffing Mr. Trump on “Spygate.”

“Chairman Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate, but we have more digging to do,” Mr. Ryan told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday.

Mr. Gowdy and Mr. Ryan were among a small group of congressional leaders briefed on the informant late last month by top officials from the F.B.I., Justice Department and the office of the director of national intelligence. The unusual meeting came after Mr. Trump intervened on behalf of Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican and the Intelligence Committee chairman, who was demanding information related to the informant.

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