News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Rosenstein Wanted Trump to Help Him 'Fight' Congressional Oversight and Much, Much More

Wreckage is seen near the scene of where an Amtrak train carrying multiple Republican lawmakers crashed into a garbage truck in Crozet, Va., on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. A chartered train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a Republican policy retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck in a rural Virginia town Wednesda. (Zack Wajsgras/The Daily Progress via AP)

Good Thursday morning.

Here is what’s on the President’s schedule today:

  • The President will depart for Lewisburg, WV
  • President Trump delivers remarks to the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference
  • The President returns to Lewisburg WV
  • President Trump attends the winter meeting of the RNC at the Trump Hotel

MEDIA ANTI-MEMO BLITZ

Things are heating up (!panic!) as the clock nears the hour when the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) memo will be released. Rumors are the memo could come out as early as (today) Thursday. Let’s talk about media blitz to discredit and distract from the memo before it is released.

First up, the government agency implicated in the memo is resisting its release. The FBI has “grave concerns” about the accuracy of the memo. The stories detailing the FBI’s objection to disclosing the memo don’t like to mention that the FBI is implicated in the memo which would suggest that the FBI has an interest other than accuracy for keeping the memo secret.

“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy,’’ the FBI said in a statement.

Late yesterday, leaker Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced that Rep. Nunes, chairman of the HPSCI, altered the memo that was sent to the White House for review. The activists at the Washington Post tell us the story:

The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat accused the panel’s chairman of making “material changes” to a GOP-drafted memo alleging surveillance abuses before sending it to the White House to approve its public release, a move he charges should prevent President Trump from releasing it.

Ranking Democratic member Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter late Wednesday to chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), accusing him of “deliberately misleading” the committee, demanding he withdraw the version he sent to the White House because “there is no longer a valid basis for the White House to review the altered documents” and approve their public release.

The majority on the committee responded:

A spokesman for the committee’s Republican majority said the changes to the memo were “minor edits,” such as grammatical changes, “and two edits requested by the FBI and by the minority themselves.”

The spokesman defended the memo’s release as “procedurally sound,” adding “to suggest otherwise is a bizarre distraction from the abuses detailed in the memo.”

Once the memo is released, Schiff can tell us all the “material” that was omitted. It’s time to release all the memos and the material the memos are based on.

Related: Here’s the transcript of the HPSCI meting about the memo.

We have a leak/story from the activists at CNN informing us that President Trump asked Rod Rosenstein –word on the street is that he is specifically implicated in the House memo– if he was “on his team.” The context was that Rosenstein shuffled over to the WH to ask for Trump’s help in “fighting off” oversight from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and the House Intelligence Committee. Seems like a shifty request since it is HPSCI’s job to provide this oversight. The DOJ/FBI have been notoriously uncooperative with the HPSCI. The media “reports” are curiously silent on the FBI/DOJ’s resistance to having accountability. Better headline: Rosenstein asks Trump to assist in obstructing oversight of DOJ.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President Donald Trump’s help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump’s support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.

But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was “on my team.”

“Of course, we’re all on your team, Mr. President,” Rosenstein told Trump according to CNN’s leakers. Now, under oath in Congressional testimony Rosenstein said that “nobody has asked me to take a loyalty pledge, other than the oath of office,” and that he had been given no untoward “orders.” It didn’t seem like Rosenstein himself thought he was being given a loyalty oath, contra CNN leak.

Liar and former Director of National Intelligence Jake Clapper says Trump’s purported question is obviously obstruction of justice. What a clown this guy is.

Moving along, Mueller is “zeroing in” on Hope Hicks, the New York Times tells us. Anonymous leaks to the New York Times say that Mueller wants to interview former Trump lawyer Mark Corallo.

Mr. Corallo is planning to tell Mr. Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call with Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, according to the three people. Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Ms. Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting — in which the younger Mr. Trump said he was eager to receive political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians — “will never get out.” That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Ms. Hicks could be contemplating obstructing justice, the people said.

In a statement on Wednesday, a lawyer for Ms. Hicks strongly denied Mr. Corallo’s allegations.

“As most reporters know, it’s not my practice to comment in response to questions from the media. But this warrants a response,” said the lawyer, Robert P. Trout. “She never said that. And the idea that Hope Hicks ever suggested that emails or other documents would be concealed or destroyed is completely false.”

Is lying to the media a crime? Hell, it happens all day long.

Related: Trump Tower meeting participant sues for libel

Strzok spin machine kicks into rehabilitation mode

According to CNN, embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok was the FBI agent who authored the memo re-opening the Clinton email probe during the 2016 campaign.

Emails obtained by CNN show the FBI agent at the center of a Capitol Hill storm played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign just days before the 2016 election: the letter to Congress by then-FBI Director James Comey announcing the bureau was investigating newly discovered Clinton emails.

The new revelation about FBI agent Peter Strzok comes as Republicans accuse him of being sympathetic to Clinton while seeking to undermine Donald Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign season.

Who leaked these emails? Is the FBI “gravely concerned” that their internal emails were leaked to the press? There have been so many leaks from the FBI and other intelligence agencies and we did not see any public statements like the kind I mentioned above in the story about HPSCI memo.

McCabe sat on Weiner…emails

Sorry, I couldn’t help it. If you read as much news as I do, you would get a little punchy too. Here’s the scoop:

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that it had obtained text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that showed McCabe knew of thousands of new emails pertaining to Clinton’s private email server used at the State Department on or before September 28, 2016 — a month before Comey informed Congress about the emails on Oct. 28.

McCabe’s apparent inaction on the emails, which were found on the laptop of disgraced New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) during his sex crimes investigation, is the subject of an FBI inspector general investigation, which seeks to discover whether McCabe withheld the information from the public for political reasons.

Here’s an idea: McCabe would have waited even longer if he had control of the situation. Remember it wasn’t the DC political law enforcement crew that found the Weiner laptop emails, it was the New York posse. McCabe didn’t have control over those folks.

Picture of the day:

A super blue blood moon is seen setting behind the Hollywood hills in Los Angeles on Wednesday Jan. 31, 2018. The moon is putting on a rare cosmic show. It’s the first time in 35 years a blue moon has synced up with a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse. NASA is calling it a lunar trifecta: the first super blue blood moon since 1982. That combination won’t happen again until 2037. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Other morsels:

Frederica Wilson: Trump won’t impose Russia sanctions because ‘they have something on him’

Mnuchin vows additional Russia sanctions will be imposed in ‘near future’

Rand Paul Shined A Spotlight On A Potential Problem When Stephen Colbert Asked Him About The Russia Investigation

John Kelly: Teacher ‘ought to go to hell’ for anti-military rant

New Filing Shows Democratic National Committee is Basically Out of Money

White supremacists targeting college campuses more than ever, report says

Republican National Committee has huge financial edge heading into 2018 midterms

DoJ: Menendez is off the hook

SF retroactively applying marijuana legalization, wiping out old convictions

Pa. state Senate leader refuses court order on redrawing district maps

NYPD cops ordered to limit cooperation with ICE agents after criticism over Ravi Ragbir arrest

Germans forced to choose between medicinal marijuana and guns

Beloved teacher of the month arrested for dangling student over balcony

GOP doctor-lawmakers rush to aid of injured after deadly train wreck

Red-light cameras come under fire, at least 7 states trying to ban them

Michelle Obama relives awkward Inauguration Day gift exchange

Amazon is reportedly on the hook for 4 more Woody Allen movies, and considering a ‘hefty payout’ to kill the deal

That’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!