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The Morning Briefing: SPY vs. SPY as Comey, Brennan Point Fingers

Good Thursday morning.

Here is what's on the president's agenda today:

  • The president meets with the president of the Swiss Confederation
  • President Trump receives his intelligence briefing
  • The president delivers remarks on modernizing our immigration system for a stronger America
  • President Trump participates in a roundtable with supporters in New York City
  • The president attends a joint fundraising committee dinner in New York City

Spy vs. Spy: Brennan, Comey point fingers at each other

So who decided to brief President Trump (aka "the news hook") on the Steele dossier back in January of 2017? Fox News has the receipts.

Sources familiar with the records told Fox News that a late-2016 email chain indicated then-FBI Director James Comey told bureau subordinates that then-CIA Director John Brennan insisted the dossier be included in the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference, known as the ICA.

Fox News was told that the email chain – not yet public -- referred to the dossier as "crown material," but it was not clear why this apparent code was used. On Tuesday night, former GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy said on Fox News' "The Story with Martha MacCallum" that "Comey has a better argument than Brennan, based on what I've seen."

But MSNBC show-pony and former CIA head spook Brennan begs to differ. "Former Director Brennan, along with former [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper, are the ones who opposed James Comey’s recommendation that the Steele Dossier be included in the intelligence report," an official CIA spokesperson said.

"They opposed this because the dossier was in no way used to develop the ICA," the official continued. "The intelligence analysts didn't include it when they were doing their work because it wasn't corroborated intelligence, therefore it wasn't used and it wasn't included. Brennan and Clapper prevented it from being added into the official assessment. James Comey then decided on his own to brief Trump about the document."

OH SNAP. They are turning on each other! Also notice how the statement says the dossier wasn't corroborated? That further screws Comey because the FBI are the people who presented the dossier to the FISA court, swearing it was true. Ouch.

I am betting that the CIA statement is true: Brennan and Clapper did not want the dossier included in the ICA so they suggested it simply be used an attachment. All they really needed for their "news hook" was the fact that Comey briefed Trump on the dossier claims, not that it was specifically included in the ICA. Here is what the "news hook" story from CNN on January 10, 2017, says:

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

The real question is who decided Trump should be briefed on the dossier at all. My guess is that Brennan insisted the dossier be included with the ICA, not necessarily in the ICA.

Related:

Lots of good info here: Washington WhoDunIt: Who Pushed the Dossier, Brennan or Comey?

No more ‘do-over’ probes: White House claps back at Dem subpoenas

Who is John Durham? Prosecutor tapped for Russia probe inquiry known as 'aggressive, tireless and fair'

Andy McCarthy on Brennan criticizing new review of Russia probe's origins: ‘What’s he worried about?’

Barr to Pelosi: Got handcuffs?

Attorney General Bill Barr has a better sense of humor than I do. On Wednesday, Barr appeared at the Peace Office Memorial Service. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was also in attendance.

According to a witness, Barr asked Pelosi: “Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” in reference to the recent House Judiciary Committee's decision to hold him in contempt of Congress and put him in the House's basement jail cell. Pelosi responded that the sergeant-at-arms was nearby should an arrest be necessary. HA HA HA.

Democrats have been yodeling about putting Barr in jail after he refused their demand to turn over material that is illegal for him to turn over.

“We know how to arrest people around here,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told Politico. “And if we need to arrest someone, the [House] sergeant-at-arms will know how to do it. I’m not afraid of that.” DO IT.

Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley warned prison-happy clowns on the House Judiciary Committee they ought to simmer down about challenging Barr. "You are heading into a world of hurt if you go to the D.C. Circuit," Turley warned.

"There’s no question that he cannot release this Rule 6(e) information," Turley said, calling Barr's position "unassailable."

For instance, Turley warned Democrats not to challenge Trump's assertion of executive privilege with regard to information shared with the Special Counsel's Office, which is part of the executive branch. He said case law is strong on this issue.

"I strongly encourage you not to make that argument in federal court," he said.

I'm not sure they will listen.

Trump admin to release new immigration system

Senior administration officials said yesterday that President Trump wants to overhaul the immigration system by ending the visa lottery and implementing merit-based criteria for admissions.

The move would more than quadruple the number of immigrants admitted because of their work-related skills, while dramatically slashing the number of immigrants admitted because of family ties. Currently, approximately 12 percent of immigrants are admitted based on employment and skills, while 66 percent are admitted based on family connections.

Those percentages, under the new plan, would shift to 57 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Ten percent of immigrants would be admitted on humanitarian or other grounds, but the plan would end the visa lottery program.

The new system will be based on points: "age, English proficiency, whether each candidate has an offer of employment above a certain wage threshold, and educational and vocational certifications. Pledges to invest and create jobs also would be considered."

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is also out pushing his own immigration bill that he revealed yesterday.

Graham’s legislation would overhaul the U.S. asylum system, including increasing the number of days a family can be held together from 20 to 100. Democrats are likely to balk at changes to the Flores settlement, which limits the amount of time a minor can be held in custody to 20 days.

Graham's bill would also require that asylum claims be filed in Mexico or in home countries rather than at the U.S. border.

"If we can find a reasonable solution … and the president says no to more immigration reforms, then I think he will own this problem," Graham said.

"Here's the task for you, Mr. President: You had a meeting with Republicans and Democrats. You said 'send me a bill and I will sign it.' We sent him a bill, and he didn't sign it. So I am urging the president to lead us to a solution," Graham added.

Related:

Trump to launch uphill bid to overhaul immigration laws

DHS requests US troops build tents to house up to 7,500 migrant adults: Pentagon

Video of the day:

Other morsels:

Trump ramps up war against 'political bias' with new social media reporting tool

Trump issues pair of pardons to conservative advocate, former publisher

PG&E lines blamed for deadliest wildfire in California history

Actor Stephen Fry Accused of White Supremacy for Making OK Gesture

‘Cowardice’: Nikki Haley Takes Aim At Ocasio-Cortez, Omar And Sanders Over Venezuela

Just Days After Rashida Tlaib's Holocaust Comments She Becomes First Muslim Woman to Preside Over House

Joe Biden has double-digit lead over Trump in Pennsylvania: poll

Women’s $1 Mother’s Day gift turns out to be $1.3M lotto prize

Indiana News Anchor: South Bend Faces ‘Uptick in Violence’ as Buttigieg Runs for President

Georgetown to expel two students over U.S. college admissions bribery scandal

ACLU, Planned Parenthood file lawsuit challenging Ohio anti-abortion law

Pentagon awards $646 million contract for border wall in Arizona

LOL. Jesse Jackson wants to help fix the Venezuelan embassy standoff

Mnuchin signals administration won't comply with subpoena for Trump tax returns

White House refuses House Judiciary's request for documents

Who cares? Bill de Blasio to announce presidential bid Thursday

Did Russian Facebook Ads Actually Have Any Effect On The 2016 Presidential Election?

Trump signs order setting stage to ban Huawei from U.S.

Teen kills herself after polling Instagram followers: report

What? Harvard students apologize for publishing image of Anne Frank's face on bikini-clad woman

Jefferson Davis' name to be removed from segment of Virginia highway

Attorney and police union question doctor's view a chokehold killed Eric Garner. She isn't backing down

West Point is about to graduate its largest class of black women

Especially coming from elected officials. Anti-Semitic incidents remained at historically high levels in 2018

And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!