Jan 31, 2018

The big questions surrounding the Nunes memo

Rep. Devin Nunes, the author of the memo.

President Trump's Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly, said Wednesday that the White House plans to authorize the release of a controversial House Intelligence Committee memo "pretty quick." But the FBI shared a public statement expressing "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy, and its impending release.

Why it matters: Republicans are anxious for the memo to become public, and have hinted that its release could be explosive. But Democrats and the FBI claim it's a highly flawed document that will just fuel the polarization surrounding the Russia probe.

What is it?

It's a four-page document written by GOP Rep. Devin Nunes — chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — containing classified information and alleging abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department. Democrats on the committee wrote their own memo countering some of the claims in the Nunes document, but that memo is not being released.

What's in it?

The memo includes the allegation that the FBI used the Trump-Russia dossier to obtain FISA wiretaps against American citizens — and claims that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is based entirely on the dossier. In a statement, the FBI said, "We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy." And committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat, said, "This is not about the facts. This is about a misleading narrative that the chairman wants to put out to undermine the FBI and Robert Mueller" at an Axios event Wednesday.

Where things stand
  • Associate Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to the committee last Thursday, saying it would be "extraordinarily reckless" to release the memo — a move that drew Trump's ire.
  • Republicans on the intelligence committee voted along party lines to release the memo on Monday. They also voted not to release the Democrats' memo.
  • The FBI expressed concerns over the memo's release in a rare public statement.
  • Trump makes the call on declassifying on the memo, and he intends to do so. A senior administration official told reporters he "doubts" there will be any redactions. "It’s in Congress’ hands after that,” he said.

Go deeper

FBI to investigate death of black man after video shows officer kneeling on neck

A man protesting near the area where a Minneapolis Police Department officer allegedly killed George Floyd. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI will investigate the death of a black man for possible civil rights violations after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the man's neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The big picture: The man, identified as George Floyd, was being arrested for alleged forgery and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to a police press conference Monday night. Police say he resisted arrest before suffering from “medical distress."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 5,543,439 — Total deaths: 347,836 — Total recoveries — 2,266,394Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,669,040 — Total deaths: 98,426 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. Trump administration: Mike Pence's press secretary returns to work after beating coronavirus.
  4. States: New York reports lowest number of new coronavirus deaths since March.
  5. Public health: The final data for remdesivir is in and its benefits are rather limited.
  6. Education: A closer look at how colleges can reopenNotre Dame president says science alone "cannot provide the answer" to reopening.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns

Fine testiying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Glenn Fine, the Pentagon's principal deputy inspector general, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Trump removed Fine as the Pentagon's acting inspector general in April 7 after a group of independent federal watchdogs selected him to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which was set up to oversee the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.