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The Latest: Kelly says Democrats’ memo isn’t ‘as clean’

February 7, 2018

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with law enforcement officials on the MS-13 street gang and border security, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and investigations into contacts between his campaign and Russia (all times local):

7:40 p.m.

White House chief of staff John Kelly says a classified Democratic memo on the Russia investigation isn’t “as clean” as one produced by Republicans and made public last week.

Kelly told reporters after emerging from a meeting with congressional leaders that he’s instructed officials to complete an evaluation of the Democratic memo no later than Thursday.

He says that then, “we’ll brief the president on it and he will have a decision to make” on whether to declassify it entirely, or perhaps declassify it with some redactions.

Kelly adds his initial conclusion is that the Democratic version is “not as clean a memo as the first one.”

The new memo is intended to counter allegations the FBI used improper methods to obtain a surveillance warrant on a onetime Trump campaign associate.

The House intelligence committee has voted to release a Democratic rebuttal to a GOP memo on the Russia investigation. (Feb. 5)

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7 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he doesn’t think President Donald Trump should sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.

And he’s calling Trump “a joke.”

Biden tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo in an interview airing later Tuesday that if he were one of Trump’s attorneys, he would advise against a sit-down because Trump “has some difficulty with precision.”

Biden is also commenting on Trump’s suggestion that Democrats who didn’t clap during his State of the Union speech were “un-American” and maybe even treasonous. The White House has said Trump was merely joking.

But Biden says it’s Trump who is “a joke.”

Mueller’s investigators are hoping to interview Trump soon, but it’s unclear whether his attorneys will agree.

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4 p.m.

President Donald Trump has now seen a classified memo prepared by House intelligence committee Democrats in the panel’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Trump also has met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the matter.

So says White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders says Trump’s legal and national security teams are reviewing the memo and will brief him on their findings once the review is concluded.

The House intelligence committee voted Monday to release the memo, which pushes back against a GOP document released last week. The Republican memo criticizes methods the FBI used to obtain a surveillance warrant on a one-time Trump campaign associate.

Trump has until the end of the week to decide whether to allow the Democratic memo’s release.

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2:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump has not read a classified memo prepared by House intelligence committee Democrats in the panel’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

That’s according to White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Kelly told reporters gathered at the White House for an event with Trump on Tuesday afternoon that he had just given the president the memo.

Kelly says it’s pretty lengthy.

The committee voted Monday to release the memo, which pushes back against a GOP document the committee cleared for release last week. The Republican memo criticizes methods the FBI used to obtain a surveillance warrant on a one-time Trump campaign associate.

The White House is reviewing the Democratic memo. Trump has until the end of the week to decide whether to allow its release.

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12:45 p.m.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says negotiations over a closed-door interview with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon have stalled, as the White House will only permit him to answer 14 pre-approved “yes” or “no” questions.

The committee wants to interview Bannon as part of its Russia investigation. The committee has subpoenaed Bannon to appear but the interview has been pushed back three times.

California Rep. Adam Schiff said Bannon’s lawyer told the committee he is barred from talking about matters during the presidential transition, his time at the White House and communications with President Donald Trump since he left in August.

Schiff said Republicans and Democrats on the committee are united that these prohibitions are unacceptable and that the panel could hold Bannon in contempt.

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11:25 a.m.

The House intelligence committee is giving former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon another week to negotiate the terms of a closed-door interview.

Amanda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, says the committee extended the deadline on Bannon’s subpoena until next Tuesday.

The extension is the third time Bannon’s interview has been postponed. The committee wants to interview him as part of its investigation into Russia election meddling and any coordination with Trump associates.

Bannon’s lawyer has been negotiating with the committee and the White House about the interview’s terms. At issue is whether the White House will allow Bannon to answer questions about his time in the Trump administration.

Bannon is also scheduled to be interview by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team next week.

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10:25 a.m.

Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist to President Donald Trump, is scheduled to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators next week as they probe possible obstruction of justice by the president.

That’s according to two people familiar with Bannon’s interview. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about details of the interview.

One of the people says Bannon plans to tell Mueller “everything” he knows.

Bannon is expected to face questions about key events during his time in the White House including Trump’s firings of former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey.

The confirmation of Bannon’s meeting with Mueller comes as Bannon’s closed-door interview set for Tuesday with the House intelligence committee was postponed.

—By Chad Day

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7:37 a.m.

The White House says it has a classified memo prepared by Democrats on the House intelligence committee in the panel’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The committee voted unanimously Monday to release the memo. The memo pushes back against a GOP document the committee cleared for release last week that criticizes the methods the FBI used to obtain a surveillance warrant on a one-time Trump campaign associate.

The Democratic document attempts to counter arguments and evidence presented by committee Republicans.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the Democratic memo will go through the same legal and national security review as the GOP memo, which was released last week.

President Donald Trump now has five days to decide whether to allow the Democratic memo to be released.

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12:30 a.m.

The House intelligence committee has voted to release a second classified memo about whether the FBI and Justice Department conspired against President Donald Trump.

Democrats on the panel wrote the memo in an effort to counter some of the arguments and evidence put forward by Republicans in a document of their own, declassified by Trump last week. The GOP memo criticizes the methods the FBI used to obtain a surveillance warrant on a onetime Trump campaign associate.

The House intelligence committee has voted to release a Democratic rebuttal to a GOP memo on the Russia investigation. (Feb. 5)

Trump has five days to decide whether to allow the Democratic memo’s publication.

The battle of classified memos has further deepened the partisan divide on the House committee investigating Russian election meddling and possible connections between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.

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