The Latest: AG will make sure GOP claims are examined

 
 
Updated 2/2/2018 1:59 PM
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  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens to the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens to the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics. Associated Press

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, during the opening of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, during the opening of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump waves as he leaves the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, en route to the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center in Sterling, Va.

    President Donald Trump waves as he leaves the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, en route to the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center in Sterling, Va. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this June 8, 2017 file photo, former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Comey defended the agency Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, on Twitter, writing, "All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. " President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have been attacking the FBI for its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign.

    FILE - In this June 8, 2017 file photo, former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Comey defended the agency Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, on Twitter, writing, "All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. " President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have been attacking the FBI for its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign. Associated Press

  • Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., as they walk to their offices Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans and Democrats showed no signs of ending their standoff over immigration and spending Saturday as Americans awoke to the first day of a government shutdown and Congress staged a weekend session to show voters it was trying to resolve the stalemate.

    Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., as they walk to their offices Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans and Democrats showed no signs of ending their standoff over immigration and spending Saturday as Americans awoke to the first day of a government shutdown and Congress staged a weekend session to show voters it was trying to resolve the stalemate. Associated Press

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, speaks during a town hall-style meeting as U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass. left, looks on, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at the Cambridge Public Library, in Cambridge, Mass. On the heels of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, Pelosi spoke about the recently approved federal tax overhaul. Her appearance at the event is part of what organizers say is a nationwide tour featuring members of Congress and others to call attention to the Republican tax plan.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, speaks during a town hall-style meeting as U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass. left, looks on, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, at the Cambridge Public Library, in Cambridge, Mass. On the heels of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, Pelosi spoke about the recently approved federal tax overhaul. Her appearance at the event is part of what organizers say is a nationwide tour featuring members of Congress and others to call attention to the Republican tax plan. Associated Press

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, during the opening of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, during the opening of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics. Associated Press

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, listen the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, listen the national anthem during the opening ceremony of the summit on Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking at Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. President Donald Trump, dogged by an unrelenting investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia, lashes out at the FBI and Justice Department as politically biased ahead of the expected release of a classified Republican memo criticizing FBI surveillance tactics. Associated Press

  • Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., attends a speech by President Donald Trump at the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

    Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., attends a speech by President Donald Trump at the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump speaks with reporters about allowing the release of a secret memo on the FBI's role in the Russia inquiry, during a meeting with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Washington.

    President Donald Trump speaks with reporters about allowing the release of a secret memo on the FBI's role in the Russia inquiry, during a meeting with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, in Washington. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee (RNC) winter meeting in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

    President Donald Trump speaks at the Republican National Committee (RNC) winter meeting in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Associated Press

  • Rep. Adam Schiff, D- Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, arrives to speak at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

    Rep. Adam Schiff, D- Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, arrives to speak at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump, accompanied by from left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks at the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.

    President Donald Trump, accompanied by from left, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., speaks at the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Associated Press

  • President Donald Trump walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Washington. Trump is traveling to speak at the House and Senate Republicans' annual legislative planning conference at the luxury Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia

    President Donald Trump walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Washington. Trump is traveling to speak at the House and Senate Republicans' annual legislative planning conference at the luxury Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Latest on President Donald Trump and the FBI (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he'll make sure Congress' concerns are examined about the FBI investigation into possible cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Sessions issued a statement Friday after Republican lawmakers released a memo they wrote alleging surveillance abuses at the FBI. President Donald Trump declassified the memo earlier Friday.

Sessions says he will "forward to appropriate DOJ components all information I receive from Congress regarding this." Sessions did not elaborate, but the Justice Department's inspector general is tasked with investigating employee misconduct.

Sessions says he has faith in department employees but that "no department is perfect." He says he'is "determined that we will fully and fairly ascertain the truth."

Sessions has recused himself from the Russia probe, citing his own ties to Trump's campaign.

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2:30 p.m.

The White House says a newly released GOP memo raises "serious concerns" about the Department of Justice and the FBI's handling of the Russia investigation.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders sent out a statement saying, "The memorandum raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the Government's most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens."

Trump allowed the memo to be released over the objections of the FBI and Justice Department.

While she's critical of the FBI's leadership, Sanders says President Donald Trump "is especially grateful to the hardworking rank-and-file public servants" at the agencies.

Sanders says the White House "stands ready" to work with Congress to consider allowing the release of a memo prepared by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

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2:10 p.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey says a newly released Republican-written memo doesn't add up to much.

Comey asks on Twitter, "That's it?"

He calls the memo "dishonest and misleading" and not worth the damage it's done to public trust in U.S. intelligence agencies.

The memo was declassified by President Donald Trump and released Friday by House Republicans. It claims the FBI abused its surveillance powers in the Russia investigation.

Trump fired Comey last May.

The White House initially said the firing was due to Comey's handling of the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email. But Trump later indicated it was about the FBI's Russia probe.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been scrutinizing Comey's firing as he investigates possible obstruction of justice.

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2 p.m.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is challenging the accuracy of a memo released Friday by House Republicans.

President Donald Trump declassified the memo Friday, and Republicans released it in an effort to prove surveillance abuses at the FBI.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner says he read the classified documents that formed the basis for the memo, and "they simply do not support its conclusions."

Only two members of the House intelligence panel, one Republican and one Democrat, have read those underlying documents.

Warner says the act of declassifying information could make it harder for the intelligence committees to conduct oversight and could endanger Americans overseas.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. A spokeswoman says he's not commenting comment on the memo.

___

1:20 p.m.

House Democrats are angry about the release of a classified GOP memo intended to show surveillance abuses at the FBI. They say it's an underhanded effort to protect President Donald Trump and discredit the investigations into Russian election meddling.

Democrats on the House intelligence panel had tried to block the memo's release. They say it mischaracterizes the motivations behind a 2016 surveillance warrant on Trump campaign official Carter Page.

They also criticized House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes for not having read the classified material that formed the basis for the memo.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says that by disclosing classified information, Trump had "sent his friend Putin a bouquet." She's referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Democrats on the House Judiciary committee said House Republicans are "accomplices" to obstruction of justice.

___

12:50 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending his deputy in the face of criticism from the president.

Sessions broke from prepared remarks in a speech Friday on human trafficking. He praised Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (ROH'-zen-styn) as well as the department's No. 3 official, Rachel Brand.

Sessions says both are experienced lawyers and "represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department."

That's a departure from President Donald Trump, who was asked Friday whether he has confidence in Rosenstein. Trump said, "You figure that one out."

The criticism stems from a newly declassified GOP memo alleging the FBI abused surveillance powers in its investigation into possible cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump said, "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

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12:45 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump declassified the controversial GOP memo alleging FBI impropriety because the public interest outweighs any classification concerns.

The White House counsel says in a letter, "In light of the significant public interest in the memorandum, the President has authorized the declassification of the Memorandum."

The FBI and Department of Justice both opposed the memo's release, and the FBI says it has "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy.

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12:40 p.m.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans say they found "serious violations of the public trust" by intelligence and law enforcement agencies investigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

That's according to committee chairman Devin Nunes (NOO'-nehs). The California Republican sent out a statement after his committee released a controversial memo detailing what he says are abuses of power at the FBI and Department of Justice.

Nunes says he hopes the release "will shine a light on this alarming series of events" and spur "reforms that allow the American people to have full faith and confidence in their governing institutions."

The FBI had warned against releasing the memo. Democrats say the allegations are made solely to discredit the investigation.

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12:25 p.m.

The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee has released a memo based on classified information that alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

President Donald Trump cleared the way for publication of the controversial memo despite objections from the FBI. The four-page memo was drafted by Republicans on the committee chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The FBI, Justice Department and Democrats have furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release. They say it could harm national security and mislead the public. Republicans on the committee have said they believe they've uncovered serious misconduct that needs to be made public.

___

12:02 p.m.

President Donald Trump says a newly declassified GOP memo alleging FBI abuses shows, "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

Trump tells reporters Friday: "The memo was sent to Congress, it was declassified. Congress will do whatever they're going to do. But I think it's a disgrace what's happened in our country."

Trump's decision to declassify the memo clears the way for the public release of the document. The memo was prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee based on classified information and alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

The FBI says it has "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy.

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11:55 a.m.

The White House says it has declassified a GOP-authored memo on the Russia probe. That clears the way for the House Intelligence Committee to release the document, which is based on classified information and alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah says President Donald Trump cleared the way for publication of the controversial memo, despite objections from the FBI. The four-page memo was drafted by Republicans on the committee chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The FBI, Justice Department and Democrats have furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release. They say it could harm national security and mislead the public. Republicans on the committee have said they believe they've uncovered serious misconduct that needs to be made public.

___

7:12 a.m.

President Donald Trump is lashing out at Democrats, as he criticizes the FBI over the investigation of potential ties between Russia and his 2016 campaign.

Trump tweeted a quote from the head of the conservative group Judicial Watch Friday morning.

He tweeted: "'You had Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party try to hide the fact that they gave money to GPS Fusion to create a Dossier which was used by their allies in the Obama Administration to convince a Court misleadingly, by all accounts, to spy on the Trump Team.' Tom Fitton, JW"

Fitton appeared on "Fox and Friends" Friday.

Trump is expected to clear the way for the publication of a classified memo on the Russia investigation that Republicans say shows improper use of surveillance by the FBI.

___

6:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing the FBI and Justice Department of playing politics "in favor of Democrats and against Republicans."

Trump tweets: "The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans - something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!"

White House officials say President Donald Trump will allow the publication of a classified memo prepared by Republicans accusing the FBI of abusive surveillance tactics in the Russia investigation.

The memo is said to allege FBI misconduct in the initial stages of its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign.

____

12:19 a.m.

White House officials say President Donald Trump will clear the way for the publication of a classified memo on the Russia investigation.

The memo, prepared by Republicans on the House intelligence committee, is said to allege FBI misconduct in the initial stages of its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign.

Trump's Justice Department furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release, saying it could harm national security and mislead the public.

A White House official said Congress would probably be informed of the decision Friday. A second official said Trump was likely to declassify the congressional memo but the precise method for making it public was still being figured out. The officials were not authorized to be quoted about private deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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