Dems Say Memo Aims To Protect Trump, Smear FBI

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, speaks during a town hall-style meeting as U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass. left, looks on, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at the Cambridge Public Library, in Cambridge, Mass. On the heels of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Pelosi spoke about the recently approved federal tax overhaul. Her appearance at the event is part of what organizers say is a nationwide tour featuring members of Congress and others to call attention to the Republican tax plan. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the FBI (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

House Democrats are angry about the release of a classified GOP memo intended to show surveillance abuses at the FBI. They say it’s an underhanded effort to protect President Donald Trump and discredit the investigations into Russian election meddling.

Democrats on the House intelligence panel had tried to block the memo’s release. They say it mischaracterizes the motivations behind a 2016 surveillance warrant on Trump campaign official Carter Page.

They also criticized House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes for not having read the classified material that formed the basis for the memo.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says that by disclosing classified information, Trump had “sent his friend Putin a bouquet.” She’s referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Democrats on the House Judiciary committee said House Republicans are “accomplices” to obstruction of justice.

___

12:50 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending is deputy in the face of criticism from the president.

Sessions broke from prepared remarks in a speech Friday on human trafficking. He praised Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (ROH’-zen-styn) as well as the department’s No. 3 official, Rachel Brand.

Sessions says both are experienced lawyers and “represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department.”

That’s a departure from President Donald Trump, who was asked Friday whether he has confidence in Rosenstein. Trump said, “You figure that one out.”

The criticism stems from a newly declassified GOP memo alleging the FBI abused surveillance powers in its investigation into possible cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump said, “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.”

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12:45 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump declassified the controversial GOP memo alleging FBI impropriety because the public interest outweighs any classification concerns.

The White House counsel says in a letter, “In light of the significant public interest in the memorandum, the President has authorized the declassification of the Memorandum.”

The FBI and Department of Justice both opposed the memo’s release, and the FBI says it has “grave concerns” about the memo’s accuracy.

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12:40 p.m.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans say they found “serious violations of the public trust” by intelligence and law enforcement agencies investigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

That’s according to committee chairman Devin Nunes (NOO’-nehs). The California Republican sent out a statement after his committee released a controversial memo detailing what he says are abuses of power at the FBI and Department of Justice.

Nunes says he hopes the release “will shine a light on this alarming series of events” and spur “reforms that allow the American people to have full faith and confidence in their governing institutions.”

The FBI had warned against releasing the memo. Democrats say the allegations are made solely to discredit the investigation.

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12:25 p.m.

The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee has released a memo based on classified information that alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

President Donald Trump cleared the way for publication of the controversial memo despite objections from the FBI. The four-page memo was drafted by Republicans on the committee chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The FBI, Justice Department and Democrats have furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release. They say it could harm national security and mislead the public. Republicans on the committee have said they believe they’ve uncovered serious misconduct that needs to be made public.

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12:02 p.m.

President Donald Trump says a newly declassified GOP memo alleging FBI abuses shows, “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.”

Trump tells reporters Friday: “The memo was sent to Congress, it was declassified. Congress will do whatever they’re going to do. But I think it’s a disgrace what’s happened in our country.”

Trump’s decision to declassify the memo clears the way for the public release of the document. The memo was prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee based on classified information and alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

The FBI says it has “grave concerns” about the memo’s accuracy.

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11:55 a.m.

The White House says it has declassified a GOP-authored memo on the Russia probe. That clears the way for the House Intelligence Committee to release the document, which is based on classified information and alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah says President Donald Trump cleared the way for publication of the controversial memo, despite objections from the FBI. The four-page memo was drafted by Republicans on the committee chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The FBI, Justice Department and Democrats have furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release. They say it could harm national security and mislead the public. Republicans on the committee have said they believe they’ve uncovered serious misconduct that needs to be made public.

___

7:12 a.m.

President Donald Trump is lashing out at Democrats, as he criticizes the FBI over the investigation of potential ties between Russia and his 2016 campaign.

Trump tweeted a quote from the head of the conservative group Judicial Watch Friday morning.

He tweeted: “‘You had Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party try to hide the fact that they gave money to GPS Fusion to create a Dossier which was used by their allies in the Obama Administration to convince a Court misleadingly, by all accounts, to spy on the Trump Team.’ Tom Fitton, JW”

Fitton appeared on “Fox and Friends” Friday.

Trump is expected to clear the way for the publication of a classified memo on the Russia investigation that Republicans say shows improper use of surveillance by the FBI.

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6:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing the FBI and Justice Department of playing politics “in favor of Democrats and against Republicans.”

Trump tweets: “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. Rank & File are great people!”

White House officials say President Donald Trump will allow the publication of a classified memo prepared by Republicans accusing the FBI of abusive surveillance tactics in the Russia investigation.

The memo is said to allege FBI misconduct in the initial stages of its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

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12:19 a.m.

White House officials say President Donald Trump will clear the way for the publication of a classified memo on the Russia investigation.

The memo, prepared by Republicans on the House intelligence committee, is said to allege FBI misconduct in the initial stages of its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Trump’s Justice Department furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release, saying it could harm national security and mislead the public.

A White House official said Congress would probably be informed of the decision Friday. A second official said Trump was likely to declassify the congressional memo but the precise method for making it public was still being figured out. The officials were not authorized to be quoted about private deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

FEB 2. 2018 - 1:21 PM EDT AP

 
 

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