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Paul Ryan reportedly sides with Nunes over Justice Department

The Justice Department and the FBI made a specific request to House Speaker Paul Ryan. The GOP leader sided instead with Devin Nunes.
Image: House GOP Pulls Vote On Trump's American Health Care Act
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (L) arrives to a private meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill, March 24, 2017 in...

One of the week's unexpected political stories unfolded late Wednesday on Capitol Hill, and it caught nearly everyone by surprise. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray were seen going into House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office for reasons that, at least initially, weren't at all clear.

It turns out, as Rachel noted on Wednesday's show, the subject of the chat was House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), one of Congress' fiercest allies of Donald Trump and a former member of the president's transition team, who demanded information from the FBI about the investigation into the Christopher Steele dossier. That report, of course, helped document alleged ties between Trump and Russia.

As TPM, among others, noted late yesterday, it appears the California Republican is going to see what he wants to see.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes announced Wednesday night that the Department of Justice had agreed to turn over to the committee all documents and witnesses related to Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia. [...][Nunes had] threatened deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher Wray with contempt of Congress, a move that drew censure from fellow Republicans.

What does this have to do with Paul Ryan? According to reports from Politico and CNN, the deputy attorney general and FBI director requested the meeting and directly urged the Speaker to narrow the scope of the document request.

Paul sided with Nunes, "insisting they turn over the full slate." A Republican lawmaker close to the Speaker told Politico that Rosenstein and Wray "wasted a trip to the Capitol."

And why does this matter? In large part because it means Devin Nunes will soon be able to review detailed and sensitive information -- about communications with confidential sources, interviews, lists of meetings -- that up until now has been limited to a small number of people, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Given recent history, the next question is how soon the House Intelligence Committee chairman will share what he learns with his White House allies.