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FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties were briefed Thursday on the FBI's use of an informant in 2016, after the White House received backlash for not initially inviting Democrats to view the confidential information.

The VIPs: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Trump's Special Counsel Emmet Flood helped "facilitate" the meetings, and visited the Justice Department and Capitol Hill to offer opening remarks, according to a statement from the White House. However, neither were in the room when the classified information was disclosed.

What they're saying:

  • Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters that he saw “no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign.”
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Mark Warner released a statement along with Rep. Schiff, saying, "Nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a ‘spy’ in the Trump Campaign, or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols."
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell told NPR that he supports both the Inspector General investigation in the Justice Department and the Mueller investigation, and what he learned in the meeting doesn't change that.

Be smart: This whole thing was sparked by speculation from conservative writers. It was then picked up by President Trump, and has grown to become a key focal point in Washington. But as of now, there is still no public evidence to support claims that the FBI planted a source inside the Trump campaign.

Go deeper: An inside look at the suspected FBI informant, Stefan Halper

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.