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White House says Trump will rely on FBI, intel advice on releasing Democratic memo

White House officials and others close to Pr...

Posted: Feb 6, 2018 6:35 PM
Updated: Feb 6, 2018 6:35 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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 253932

Reported Deaths: 5524
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17197175
Hinds16280322
Harrison13502193
Rankin10749211
Jackson10407183
Lee8819141
Madison8262162
Jones6375110
Forrest5992119
Lauderdale5873180
Lowndes5381116
Lafayette496692
Lamar487565
Washington4800123
Bolivar3978108
Oktibbeha393880
Panola370779
Pontotoc365353
Monroe3543105
Warren353498
Union344760
Marshall342665
Neshoba3383152
Pearl River329799
Leflore3004105
Lincoln297685
Sunflower284969
Hancock273459
Tate272462
Alcorn264053
Pike263577
Itawamba262959
Scott246645
Yazoo245955
Prentiss245652
Copiah241949
Tippah241750
Simpson235767
Coahoma233754
Leake231164
Grenada218470
Covington213071
Marion212072
Adams205870
Wayne201331
Winston200564
George199338
Attala193759
Newton192842
Tishomingo186359
Chickasaw183944
Jasper170835
Holmes168767
Clay159433
Stone143621
Tallahatchie141034
Clarke138960
Calhoun136121
Smith120823
Yalobusha117034
Walthall112336
Noxubee110522
Greene110229
Montgomery109634
Carroll104521
Lawrence102617
Perry102231
Amite98025
Webster92424
Tunica86721
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis84825
Humphreys83024
Benton81823
Kemper77220
Quitman6918
Franklin66615
Choctaw60513
Wilkinson58425
Jefferson54319
Sharkey43017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
Conecuh94420
Sumter89126
Greene76123
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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