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Anderson Cooper: Nunes memo is a phony drama

CNN's Anderson Cooper breaks down the controversy surrounding the release of the Republican memo about the FBI that President Trump allegedly hopes might undermine the Russia investigation.

Posted: Feb 2, 2018 3:17 PM
Updated: Feb 2, 2018 3:17 PM

President Donald Trump positioned himself squarely against the leadership of the FBI and Department of Justice on Friday ahead of the possible release of a highly controversial Republican memo alleging the FBI abused its surveillance tools, claiming the government agencies "politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans."

Trump, by accusing the leadership of having a bias against Republicans, is once again maligning people he appointed to their roles, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, a man Trump nominated after he fired former FBI Director James Comey in May.

The tweet also puts Trump squarely on the side of Republican lawmakers who view the memo, which was penned by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and approved for release by the House committee earlier this week, as a document that shows evidence of nefarious motives atop the FBI.

"The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans - something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago," Trump wrote. "Rank & File are great people!"

The tweet is especially notable since Trump once argued the FBI's mistreatment of a Democrat, Hillary Clinton, in its handling of the investigation into her email server led him to fire Comey. The President, however, would later say that he considered "this Russia thing" before dismissing the FBI director.

The President's tweet also ignores the fact that many senior people involved in the investigation, including Wray, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Comey, are all longtime Republicans.

Trump has signaled for days that he is inclined to release the memo and told a lawmaker who urged him to publish it on Tuesday that he shouldn't worry.

The fight over the memo has put the President at odds with his top law enforcement officials, who have urged the White House to reconsider releasing the document.

Top White House aides are worried Wray could quit if the highly controversial Republican memo alleging the FBI abused its surveillance tools is released, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

Trump reviewed the memo on Wednesday, White House officials told CNN, and discussed it with his chief of staff, John Kelly, and the White House counsel's office.

In recent phone calls, Trump has told friends he believes the memo would expose bias within the FBI's top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations -- primarily the inquiry led by special counsel Robert Mueller -- are prejudiced against him, according to two sources.

The memo is expected to accuse the Department of Justice and FBI of abusing the FISA surveillance program during the 2016 campaign, including how they used material from the unverified dossier written by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, as part of their application to secure court approval of surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser.

CNN previously reported in April that the FBI used part of the dossier to win approval to secretly monitor Page.

Republicans have already begun using the Nunes memo to discredit Mueller's investigation into potential Trump campaign connections to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Democrats have claimed that the document is nothing more than an attempt to undercut Mueller's investigation.

"There's no evidence of a corrupt evidence to obtain warrants against people in the Trump campaign," Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Friday. "That's been the President's narrative, but there's no evidence of that."

Trump, though, has appeared undeterred on releasing the memo. Though aides claimed the decision to approve the document would be made after a thorough interagency review led by the White House counsel's office and the National Security Council, Trump was eager to release it before he even read the document.

"Don't worry, 100%" Trump told Rep. Duncan Hunter on Tuesday after the lawmaker urged him to release the document. "Can you imagine?"

Trump has been subject to a public and private pressure campaign on the memo, too. Lawmakers, informal advisers and even his own son have publicly called for the document to be released in full, without any redactions.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has supported the plan to release the Nunes memo, but has said the document is a "completely separate matter from Bob Mueller's investigation and his investigation should be allowed to take its course."

Ryan also said Friday morning, as the release of the memo loomed, that he is in favor of releasing a Democratic memo penned in response to the Nunes document.

"The speaker is in favor of greater transparency," Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement. "If it is scrubbed to ensure it does not reveal sources and methods of our intelligence gathering, the speaker supports the release of the Democrats' memo."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
Lawrence6803150
Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
Whitley509851
Steuben480267
Wabash470192
Jasper465760
Jefferson456091
Ripley439074
Adams435565
Daviess4008106
Scott389563
White383457
Decatur376895
Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
Franklin229337
Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
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Feels Like: 80°
Angola
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 79°
Decatur
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 80°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 82°
Friday is the beginning for a more summer-like forecast, with more heat and humidity returning to the region.
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