“The FBI spoke out publicly Wednesday against a GOP memo criticizing the bureau’s use of surveillance authorities, challenging the classified document’s accuracy as the White House and congressional Republicans are expected to soon make its contents public,” the Washington Post reports.
From a statement: “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
New York Times: “Christopher Wray, the FBI director, clashed publicly with the president for the first time on Wednesday, condemning a push by House Republicans to release a secret memo that purports to show how the bureau and the Justice Department abused their authorities to obtain a warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser.”
He had privately “told the White House he opposes the release of a controversial, classified GOP memo alleging bias at the FBI and Justice Department because it contains inaccurate information and paints a false narrative,” Bloomberg reports.
President Trump was overheard telling a GOP lawmaker he’s going to release it to the public anyway.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) claimed late Wednesday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) shared with President Trump an edited version of the Republican-crafted memo alleging abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department, The Hill reports.
Said Schiff: “Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release.”
“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President Trump’s help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump’s support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes,” CNN reports.
“But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill… Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was ‘on my team.’”
Greg Sargent on the Dems releasing their own memo: “Given the apparent levels of bad faith on display here, do Democrats have any recourse? When I asked Himes if Democrats would take dramatic steps — such as reading the Schiff rebuttal on the floor, if Republicans and/or Trump block its release — he said he couldn’t guarantee that. But Himes did suggest the Nunes memo would blow up in the faces of Trump and Republicans, because its shoddiness will be so obvious and because Democrats will be freer to make the case against it.
“Smart people all over the country will read this thing and realize what a piece of middle school work it is,” Himes said. “If the Nunes memo is declassified, it will have the effect of declassifying some things that I can’t even talk about. So there will be a lot more scope for discussion.”
As the plot thickens, it now looks like White House communications director Hope Hicks could be implicated in Trump’s apparent conspiracy to obstruct justice. https://t.co/C7MXlwCoUV
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 1, 2018
New York Times: “Aboard Air Force One on a flight home from Europe last July, President Trump and his advisers raced to cobble together a news release about a mysterious meeting at Trump Tower the previous summer between Russians and top Trump campaign officials. Rather than acknowledge the meeting’s intended purpose — to obtain political dirt about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — the statement instead described the meeting as being about an obscure Russian adoption policy.”
“The statement… has become a focus of the inquiry by Robert Mueller… Prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller in recent months have questioned numerous White House officials about how the release came together — and about how directly Mr. Trump oversaw the process.”
“What is already clear is that, as Mr. Trump’s aides and family members tried over 48 hours to manage one of most consequential crises of the young administration, the situation quickly degenerated into something of a circular firing squad. They protected their own interests, shifted blame and potentially left themselves — and the president — legally vulnerable.”
New: Mark Corallo, former Trump legal team spox, is planning on telling Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call which led him to believe that Hope Hicks was going to obstruct justice @maggieNYT @mattapuzzo @MarkMazzettiNYT @Jo_Becker report. https://t.co/X19dTOBq70 pic.twitter.com/1hBwW5HftE
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) February 1, 2018
Kerry Eleveld at Daily Kos: “Democrats cannot afford to let Republicans dictate the terms of this discussion without a thorough and informed rebuttal. The GOP base is going to believe whatever crackpot theory White House errand boy Devin Nunes has cooked up, but sway-able voters must be given enough information to make an informed decision. If Democrats wait to see how the Nunes memo is received, they will immediately forfeit their opening to level the playing field.
As for the information being classified, it’s certainly not ideal and surely there are ways to mitigate the damage while still providing an illuminating response. But Democrats easily can and should argue that Republicans chose to open this debate by releasing classified materials, leaving Democrats no choice but to give the American people the full complement of information they needed to assess the legitimacy of the secret memo.
These are extraordinary times and counting on “smart people” to simply land on the right conclusion without providing them the necessary tools to get there is a disastrous path for Democrats.”
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) January 31, 2018
“Economic growth in the 19 countries that use the euro currency was 2.5% in 2017… Growth in the 28-member European Union also reached 2.5% last year,” CNN reports. “It’s the best period of growth for both groupings since 2007, putting Europe just ahead of the 2.3% expansion posted by the U.S. in 2017.”
Meanwhile, in the UK, “the government’s new analysis of the impact of Brexit says the UK would be worse off outside the European Union under every scenario modeled,” BuzzFeed News reports.
Bloomberg: “It said that each of the three scenarios modeled, from no trade deal with the EU to membership of the European Economic Area, would bludgeon growth. The hardest Brexit would leave the economy 8 percent smaller than otherwise in 15 years time, and the softest would still slow growth by 2 percent.”
The Republican plan for Trump impunity https://t.co/JFutu8u5Ky
— Crooked Media (@crookedmedia) January 30, 2018
Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare on the lie (or illogic) behind the whole smear against the Mueller investigation. “In other words, to believe—as so many Trump defenders seem to—that there is something defective about the Mueller investigation, one has to believe not merely that the Obama administration conducted inappropriate surveillance against the Trump campaign based on laundered opposition research from the Democratic National Committee. You also have to believe that the Trump administration itself is still doing it. You have to believe—or have to choose to believe—that Rosenstein is a corrupt actor out to get the president.
That belief is a political choice. It is a political choice to accept a big lie that the president and his defenders have been peddling for months about federal law enforcement and intelligence.”
presidential job approval is four times as powerful as economic growth in determining mid-term election outcomes, says Emory's @AlanIAbramowitz. Trump is least-popular first-term president in polling history. https://t.co/9313vF2jsz
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 30, 2018
The Justice Department turned over a cache of internal correspondence to special counsel Robert Mueller,” including documents related to the proposed resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year and emails with the White House about fired national security adviser Michael Flynn,” ABC News reports.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) January 30, 2018
“The White House’s original choice for U.S. ambassador to South Korea is no longer expected to be nominated after he privately expressed disagreement in late December with the Trump administration’s North Korea policy,” the Washington Post reports.
“Victor D. Cha, an academic who served in the George W. Bush administration, raised his concerns with National Security Council officials over their consideration of a limited strike on the North aimed at sending a message without sparking a wider war — a risky concept known as a ‘bloody nose’ strategy.”
Why the Trump tax cuts will not save Republicans this fall https://t.co/9qlZPGWugn
— Daily Intelligencer (@intelligencer) January 29, 2018
Newly-obtained emails “show the FBI agent at the center of a Capitol Hill storm played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign just days before the 2016 election: the letter to Congress by then-FBI Director James Comey announcing the bureau was investigating newly discovered Clinton emails,” CNN reports.
“The new revelation about FBI agent Peter Strzok comes as Republicans accuse him of being sympathetic to Clinton while seeking to undermine Donald Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign season.”
“Strzok, who co-wrote what appears to be the first draft that formed the basis of the letter Comey sent to Congress, also supported reopening the Clinton investigation once the emails were discovered on disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop.”
An unprecedented slowdown across the EPA doesn’t just stall new environmental regulations. It puts Americans’ health at risk.
As a former EPA administrator under President George W. Bush put it: “People will get sick and die. It’s that simple.” https://t.co/odScEEAjIj
— Vox (@voxdotcom) January 30, 2018
Ramesh Ponnuru: “Trump’s departure from State of the Union norms is partly a function of what we might call, optimistically, his novel governing style. But it also reflects his party’s lack of an agenda. The congressional Republicans don’t have any clearer sense of what they want to do in 2018. There’s nothing they all want to do legislatively that they think they can achieve or, relatedly, make popular.”
“The rap on most State of the Union addresses is that they are ‘laundry lists.’ This time the president, like his administration and party, was listless.”
The billionaire who could never win respect from the taunting insiders led a revenge march to the White House, ranting and raving and railing against the "haters"—then giving them what they wanted the moment they said please.
My story on Trump's 1st year: https://t.co/DpzyXrWlOC
— McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) January 30, 2018
“A train carrying members of Congress to their legislative retreat in West Virginia, hit a truck Wednesday,” CNN reports. “One GOP source was unsure how many members of Congress were on the train or how many people were injured, but said there were injuries.”
Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times tweets: “Fortunately there is on the scene an entire trainload of experts in administering ‘thoughts and prayers.’”
“In a shocking turnaround, the U.S. Justice Department has dropped its case against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the Newark Star Ledger reports.
“The decision will have major political consequences for Menendez, who is seeking re-election to the Senate this year and faced the possibility of a retrial on the eve of that campaign.”
Menendez still should resign. Let’s give a noncorrupt New Jersey Democrat a chance.