Jan 10, 2017

CNN: Trump & Obama briefed on Russian leverage campaign

Evan Vucci / AP

CNN has a lengthy new report by a group of reporters — including Jake Tapper, Evan Perez, Carl Bernstein and Jim Sciutto — claiming that U.S. intelligence officials have warned Trump that Russia is trying to compromise him.

What's new:

  1. Trump and Obama were briefed last week on a two-page synopsis of a report compiled by a former British spy at the behest of opposition researchers.
  2. The briefers were the heads of the four main intelligence agencies: The FBI, CIA, NSA and Director of National Intelligence.
  3. The briefing was on "allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump..."

What we already knew: A former European intel operative had compiled a report claiming ties between Trump and Russia. A story on this ran in Mother Jones the week before the election.

What we still don't know: CNN claims to have seen the memos that sourced the report, but they aren't reporting on details because they can't independently verify them. The FBI is looking into the details and also hasn't verified them. We also don't know the identities of the figures in Trumpworld supposedly tied to Russia.

The original Mother Jones story cites Paul Manafort. CNN doesn't, but gives credit to Mother Jones for the original story.

What's next: Sen. Ron Wyden called out FBI Director Comey today, asking whether the FBI report on this will go public before the inauguration. Comey said no.

Go deeper

John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."

Updates: Cities move to end curfews for George Floyd protests

Text reading "Demilitarize the police" is projected on an army vehicle during a protest over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C.. early on Thursday. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Several cities are ending curfews after the protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people led to fewer arrests and less violence Wednesday night.

The latest: Los Angeles and Washington D.C. are the latest to end nightly curfews. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted Wednesday night that "peaceful protests can continue without a curfew, while San Francisco Mayor London Breed tweeted that the city's curfew would end at 5 a.m. Thursday.