January 4, 2018 / 12:58 AM / 3 months ago

FBI chief, Deputy U.S. AG meet House Speaker on Trump-Russia probe: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two top law enforcement officials met U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday to discuss demands by congressional supporters of President Donald Trump that the Justice Department hand over files relevant to investigations of possible Trump 2016 campaign ties to Russia, a source familiar with the meeting said.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., after the House vote on the continuing resolution to avoid government shutdown, December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met Ryan, said AshLee Strong, a Ryan spokeswoman who declined to comment on the subject of the meeting.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Reuters reported in September that the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee had issued subpoenas to Wray and Rosenstein demanding that they surrender their agencies’ files on former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, his “dossier” on suspected Trump team contacts with Russia and inquiries being made by the FBI and the Justice Department into the dossier’s contents.

Officials said at the time the agencies were reluctant to comply with the subpoenas, backed by House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Trump supporter, because the FBI was conducting its own probe. That investigation is supervised by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into U.S. allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign to tilt the election in Trump’s favor.

Moscow has denied any effort to influence the election and Trump denies any campaign collusion. Trump supporters have said the “dossier” and other allegations of Trump involvement with Russia are smears concocted by Trump’s political enemies.

News outlets reported in December that Nunes would ask his committee to vote to hold the Justice Department and FBI in contempt of Congress if they did not turn over the material sought by the committee.

Nunes said in a statement he spoke with Rosenstein on Wednesday evening and he now believes his committee has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice that will provide the committee with access to all the documents and witnesses it requested.

“The committee looks forward to receiving access to the documents over the coming days,” he said.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Grant McCool and Paul Tait

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