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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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The White House is no longer acting like it plans to give a shady intelligence memo put together by House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes a thorough review before deciding whether to publicly release it.

On Fox News Radio Wednesday morning, President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly said that the four-page memo “will be released here pretty quick.” He said White House lawyers are currently examining it “so that we know what it means and what it understands.”

But his remarks suggested its release was a matter of when, not if.

“This president, again, it’s so unique that he wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds and if there’s people to be held accountable, then so be it,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s comment comes after Trump himself, as he exited his State of the Union  Tuesday night, was picked up on hot mic telling a Republican lawmaker, “Don’t worry, 100 percent,” when asked about releasing the memo.

Just prior to Trump’s speech, White House aides had told reporters that Trump had not yet read the memo. Administration aides had told CBS News earlier Tuesday that representatives from the Department of Justice, the FBI, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were all involved in review that would produce a recommendation from the White House counsel’s office as to whether it should be released.

Republicans have been hyping the four-page memo as evidence of misconduct by the FBI over the course of its Russia probe. Democrats have said that its misleading, but that because the underlying intelligence is classified, it will be difficult to provide to the public a full rebuttal to its claims. Nonetheless, they have compiled a counter-memo offering more context that they hope to release in the days to come. House Intel Republicans blocked their move to release both memos at the same time.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has also communicated to the White House that the memo is inaccurate and misleading in its claims, according to Bloomberg.

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As House Republicans prepare to release a four-page memo they claim shows the Justice Department misbehaved in seeking to surveil a Trump campaign adviser, the allegations are already drawing extreme skepticism and outright mockery from former government officials and outside experts.

“None of those pushing this are in any other way acting like they believe what they’re saying,” Julian Sanchez, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told TPM.

“You just have this wider and wider net: they all perjured themselves, they all opened themselves to criminal liability,” former FBI counterintelligence agent Asha Rangappa said, referring to the allegations against the FBI. “It makes no sense.”

“It suggests to me that the goal here is not expose a scandal, but the goal is to impugn the credibility of the relevant actors and to satisfy an existing narrative,” said Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor who specializes in national security issues.

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If President Trump has any plans for another push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, he did not make them known in his State of the Union address Tuesday, which included only one reference to Obamacare — a law Republicans for years promised to dismantle

Referencing the 2016 tax bill’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, Trump claimed that he had “repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare.”

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President Donald Trump last summer attempted to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the New York Times reported Thursday, but the President backed off after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit over the move.

The New York Times report is based on four people told of the matter, and it comes after Mueller’s team conducted a series of interviews suggesting that the special counsel was examining possible obstruction of justice allegations against Trump.

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A comment made by President Trump during a surprise gaggle with reporters Wednesday afternoon revealed how he views the allegations that he obstructed the investigation into Russian election meddling.

Asked if he thought Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be fair to him, Trump said “I hope so,” but only after he the compared obstruction of justice allegations to him fighting back.

“Because here’s what we’ll say, and everybody says: No collusion. There’s no collusion,” Trump said. “Now they’re saying, “Oh, well, ‘Did he fight back? Did he fight back?’ You fight back, ‘Oh, it’s obstruction.’ So, here’s the thing: I hope so.”

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A Wednesday letter signed by a Trump appointee in the Department of Justice blasted House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) for not allowing the DOJ to review an anti-FBI memo as House Republicans push for the document’s public release.

The letter, from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, revealed that the House Intel Committee had turned down FBI Director Christopher Wray’s “personal appeal” to review the memo. It also suggested that Nunes himself has not read the underlying intelligence that it is said to form the basis of the four-page memo.

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As House Intel Committee Republicans’ so-called #ReleaseTheMemo push becomes a full-on GOP obsession on Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) signaled in a floor speech Wednesday that Senate Republicans have a Russia probe conspiracy memo of their own they’d like to release— this one centered on allegations that Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy behind the Trump-Russia dossier, misled federal authorities.

“Stale, recycled media spin from journalists and pundits who do not have all the facts is not enough. The country is filled with frenzy and speculation, but hungry for facts,” Grassley said, according to prepared remarks released by his office.

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A new lawyer has joined the legal team of former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who is facing criminal charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, CNN reported Tuesday.

The lawyer, Tom Green, is not listed on the case’s court record yet and has not appeared on any filings. CNN’s report is based on an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The CNN report goes on to note what it suggests could be signs of negotations between Gates and Mueller.

One of those is that Green was spotted at Mueller’s office twice last week, according the report.

Another, it suggests, is the delay in filing a superseding indictment— a new indictment against an existing defendant, usually with additional counts or parties or both, that replaces the original indictment — in the case.

There’s long been the expectation that a superseding indictment may be filed against Gates, or against his longtime business partner, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is joining Gates in the charges. And CNN reports that, according to a source close to the investigation, superseding indictments against both men have been prepared. But no additional charges have yet been filed.

“When there is a delay in filing charges after they’ve been prepared, it can indicate that negotiations of some nature are ongoing,” CNN notes.

The report also notes that Green has experience cutting plea deals — citing specifically a plea deal he cut for Dennis Hastert — though, according to CNN, Green is also known to take cases to trial.

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A Washington Post report Tuesday sheds new light on the ongoing negotiations between President Trump’s lawyers and Special Counsel Robert Mueller about a potential Trump interview with Mueller’s team.

Citing two people familiar with Mueller’s intentions, the Post reports that the special counsel would like to ask Trump about the ousting of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and ex-FBI Director James Comey.

It has long been suspected that Mueller is interested in whether obstruction of justice occurred in connection with those departures.

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