Many on Capitol Hill were shocked to see Emmet Flood, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, attending Thursday afternoon’s classified hearing with the Dept. of Justice and select members of Congress.
The meeting itself was highly unusual: the DOJ bowing to the president and Congress to share confidential and classified documents about an informant who spoke with several Trump campaign officials before the election.
More unusual: Flood’s attendance, which has shocked legal and political experts.
“John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, whom Mr. Trump asked to help organize the meetings, attended both sessions, as did Emmet T. Flood, a lawyer representing Mr. Trump in the Russia investigation,” The New York Times reports, noting Flood supposedly left after initial remarks.
“Their presence was highly unusual in a sensitive congressional oversight briefing, and it raised the specter that top aides to the president could gain access to closely held information about an investigation of the president and his associates.”
CNN’s Manu Raju posted this stunning video:
@tedbarrettcnn spots Flood entering the Senate for the Gang of Eight meeting. The WH attorney dealing with Russia probe attended both briefings today for at least part of the time, despite the WH saying this week no WH official would attend pic.twitter.com/4RUbGg7E6r
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 24, 2018
Even more stunning was White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee’s response when asked why Flood, who is not a government employee, and likely does not have a security clearance, was allowed in the room.
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reports Sanders said Flood “will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt.”
“The Russia witch hunt.”
That, under no circumstances, is his job.
What Sarah Sanders said when Emmet Flood joined: “…will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt.” https://t.co/NiVtsOG3ei
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 24, 2018
CNN National Security Analyst Sam Vinograd offered this spot-on assessment:
Any pretense that this was about Congressional oversight (which was a thin disguise at best for a political play) blew up in smoke. This was about @POTUS interfering in our intelligence/ law enforcement system for personal gain.
— Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) May 24, 2018