Feb 2, 2018

Memo reveals dossier wasn't the origin of FBI investigation

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

House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health