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The many sides to the GOP Nunes memo

CNN's Anderson Cooper analyzes the latest news on the Republican memo about the FBI, including President Trump's comments that the memo "vindicates" him.

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 10:02 PM
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 10:02 PM

White House officials and others close to President Donald Trump insist he will rely on the input of law enforcement and intelligence agencies as he decides whether to declassify a memo from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The Democratic memo is expected to directly undercut allegations of FBI and Justice Department abuses leveled in a controversial Republican memo Trump cleared for release last week.

White House officials and a source close to the process insist the document will face the same level of scrutiny and undergo the same interagency review as the Republican memo did last week.

The comparison, though, is raising eyebrows as last week's memo publication came over FBI objections, which warned it had "grave concerns" about the incomplete picture the GOP memo painted. And as Democrats warn Trump's opposition to the arguments laid out in their memo may lead Trump to block its release, Trump's allies are eager to point to the government process as a buffer to Trump's views.

"This will be handled by the book," a source close to the process said of the review. "He'll accept the recommendations of the FBI and the intel community."

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah on Monday declined to characterize Trump's "feeling" toward the Democratic memo, but leaned on the interagency process, which involves a review by the FBI and intelligence agencies: "We will be considering it just as we did the Nunes memo."

While Trump allowed the interagency process to play out last week before greenlighting the GOP memo's release, there had been no question that Trump was eager for the memo to enter the public eye.

"Don't worry, 100%," Trump told a Republican lawmaker who asked him after the State of the Union whether he would release the Republican memo.

And after it was released, Trump claimed the memo "totally vindicates" him in the Russia investigation, even though the document did not address the allegations of collusion or obstruction of justice that have become central to the special counsel's probe.

The assumption at the White House is that Trump won't stand in the way of the Democratic memo's release, but White House officials are also warning against predicting how a characteristically mercurial President will decide the Democratic memo's fate once he has read it.

Trump is expected to be briefed on the memo Tuesday or Wednesday, after the White House counsel's office and National Security Council staff have thoroughly reviewed the document, a White House official said.

The memo's arrival at the White House late Monday set in motion a five-day clock for the White House and key law enforcement and intelligence agencies to review the memo to determine whether it is appropriate to declassify the document. But the timing on a decision has yet to be determined, the White House official said, and could be adjusted depending on the news cycle.

While the review is unlikely to take a full five days, the White House may run out the clock before deciding the memo's fate. The White House cleared the Republican memo for declassification within four days of receiving it.

Beyond how Trump's view of the memo will impact its release, whether the FBI or other agencies will seek redactions to the document still remains unknown.

One source close to the process noted that the Democratic memo, which is longer than its Republican counterpoint, may contain more information that law enforcement and intelligence agencies may seek to redact.

Regardless of the agencies' recommendations, the White House's handling of the Democratic memo will be closely scrutinized, and if he opposes its release, the impact of his political views on the process will undoubtedly be called into question.

Trump's early predisposition to releasing the memo quickly led to questions of coordination between the White House and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, the House Intelligence Committee chairman -- who had refused to answer questions on coordination during a committee meeting.

Pressed again Tuesday on the whether the White House, which has also denied any coordination, had any role in the crafting of the GOP memo, Nunes declined to answer directly.

"Democracy dies in darkness, my friend," Nunes told CNN's Manu Raju. "Get to work."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 47432

Reported Deaths: 2687
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11546683
Lake5104242
Elkhart321144
Allen2737129
St. Joseph190866
Cass16389
Hamilton1538100
Hendricks1390100
Johnson1256118
Porter72037
Tippecanoe6948
Madison65564
Clark64044
Bartholomew58244
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Kosciusko5354
Vanderburgh5026
Marshall4823
Jackson4693
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Hancock44035
Boone43743
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Floyd37144
Morgan32731
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Warrick21229
Greene18532
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Putnam1688
DeKalb1604
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Wayne1366
Steuben1282
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Sullivan441
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Blackford372
Spencer371
Crawford300
Fountain302
Tipton301
Switzerland260
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike100
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 56183

Reported Deaths: 2907
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10023420
Cuyahoga7571372
Hamilton5770197
Marion273038
Lucas2700302
Pickaway218841
Summit2110206
Montgomery193126
Mahoning1818231
Butler154744
Columbiana129560
Stark1091112
Lorain99767
Trumbull92565
Warren82321
Clark7659
Delaware55315
Belmont54422
Fairfield54316
Tuscarawas54110
Medina50832
Lake49218
Licking46612
Miami45531
Portage43258
Ashtabula43144
Wood41251
Geauga40042
Clermont3946
Wayne36051
Richland3325
Allen30840
Mercer2808
Greene2489
Darke24625
Erie23622
Holmes2263
Huron2112
Madison1938
Ottawa14323
Crawford1355
Washington13120
Putnam12715
Sandusky12714
Hardin12012
Ross1183
Morrow1161
Auglaize1064
Coshocton942
Monroe8817
Jefferson872
Union821
Muskingum811
Hancock781
Hocking788
Preble731
Williams692
Clinton680
Guernsey683
Lawrence680
Shelby654
Fulton610
Ashland581
Carroll583
Logan581
Wyandot586
Brown561
Defiance503
Athens491
Knox481
Fayette460
Highland441
Champaign391
Scioto380
Van Wert340
Seneca332
Perry321
Henry290
Adams231
Paulding230
Pike230
Jackson220
Vinton222
Gallia161
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
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