THE BIG IDEA: The classified memo written by Republican staffers for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) could be released as early as today, despite an FBI statement expressing “grave concerns” and complaints from Democrats that it’s been materially altered at the last minute.
Senior White House officials and advisers say that President Trump wants the document published because he sees it as key to making changes at the Justice Department, particularly pushing out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“Few things have frustrated Trump as much as the law enforcement agencies he cannot fully control,” Josh Dawsey, Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian report. “Allies say he is upset that he can’t control ‘my guys’ at the ‘Trump Justice Department’ and that no one seems particularly loyal to him. He has also broken long-held protocols by directly calling Justice Department officials, and instructed his chief of staff to do the same, without the White House counsel on the phone.
“The FBI’s public warning came after several days of failed attempts by FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and other Justice Department officials to convince the president and his senior staff in private meetings that the memo should be blocked because it poses a risk to national security,” they add. “Justice Department officials have been leery of talking to Trump about the memo, given the ongoing Russia inquiry … Officials said the FBI issued the statement knowing that it would probably not affect the decision.”
— Do not assume this fiasco will backfire on Republicans…