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Rep. Devin Nunes at a Trump event. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

There's one sentence in the last paragraph of the GOP memo that could thwart President Trump's efforts to discredit the Russia probe, the Washington Post points out. “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok."

Why it matters: This line undermines the argument that the FBI counterintelligence investigation happened because the Trump dossier set it in motion. Instead, it points to a former Trump campaign associate (who has since been charged in Mueller's probe) as the reason.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee wrote as much in their response to the Devin Nunes memo: “This ignores the inconvenient fact that the investigation did not begin with, or arise from Christopher Steele or the dossier, and that the investigation would persist on the basis of wholly independent evidence had Christopher Steele never entered the picture.”

Background, per WashPost:

  • The FBI received information about Papadopoulos near the end of July 2016.
  • The Australian government alerted the FBI to Papadopoulos' bragging about having access to damaging information on Hillary Clinton, provided by Russians.
  • Per WashPost: "Papadopoulos bragged to one of their diplomats during a boozy night at a London bar in May 2016."
  • In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians
  • Trump and those close to him have since tried framing Papadopoulos as a person with no real connection to the campaign, similar to an intern.

Go deeper

13 mins ago - World

Explosions in Tel Aviv and Gaza as Israeli-Palestinian crisis escalates

Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepts a rocket fired from Gaza over southern Israel. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty

Tel Aviv — The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups fired dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Tel Aviv and other cities in central Israel on Tuesday night, a new step in the current conflict that is likely to be followed by increased Israeli air strikes in Gaza.

Why it matters: The current crisis began in Jerusalem but has evolved into a military conflict across Israel and Gaza that remains on a path of escalation.

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse to introduce bill offering signing bonuses to new hires

Sen. Ben Sasse. Photo: Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) plans to introduce legislation this week to grant signing bonuses to new hires, he announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The bonuses would replace expanded unemployment benefits and are aimed at boosting employment. Sasse called the numbers in the latest jobs report "crummy."

Prosecutor to seek hate crime charges, death penalty in Atlanta shootings

In Hopkinton, Mass., the Rally & Run To Stop Asian Hate is held to show solidarity in the wake of deadly Atlanta shootings and to mourn the loss of eight lives including six Asian women. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Prosecutors unveiled murder charges against the white man accused of shooting and killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at Atlanta-area spas,.AP reports.

Driving the news: A prosecutor filed notice that she plans to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty in the case.

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