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David Taintor

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by David

CNN host John Berman made a joke about the close relationship between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday ahead of the French president’s state visit to Washington this week.

“These men have held hands more than me and my wife at times,” Berman said.

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MSNBC host Ali Velshi on Friday compared George Nader, a cooperating witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, to “Where’s Waldo?”

“He keeps showing up all over the place,” Velshi said.

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Episode #5 of The Josh Marshall Podcast is out. This week, we talk to former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa. It’s a fascinating discussion about how counter intelligence investigations operate and why Paul Manafort is a key part of the Trump-Russia story. We also discuss the ongoing Stormy Daniels saga. Listen to the episode here or on iTunes or Google Play. Please subscribe to the podcast and leave a review.  

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are prepared to black out parts of their memo about the FBI’s Russia investigation to ensure there’s no harmful spilling of secrets, then try again to get President Donald Trump to let it come out. A White House aide said Sunday he’s confident it will be released once Democrats “clean it up.”That possible nudge toward progress came as both sides traded steamy recriminations over the matter.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump is putting his personal interest above the country’s in blocking a memo that “completely undermines his claim of vindication” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign’s relationship with Russian interests and Russia’s meddling in the election. “The president doesn’t want the public to see the underlying facts,” Schiff said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The White House legislative director, Marc Short, countered that Democrats padded their memo with sensitive information, knowing Trump would stop its release, in an effort to make him look obstructionist.

“We’re not afraid of transparency,” Short said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”I think you’re going to see us release the memo.”

Trump overrode strong Justice Department objections when he declassified a Republican memo alleging an abuse of surveillance powers in the FBI’s Russia investigation. The FBI expressed “grave concerns” about the memo’s accuracy and the Justice Department said in advance that its release, without proper review, would be “extraordinarily reckless.”

But Trump has blocked the Democratic document, which tries to counter the Republican allegations of surveillance excesses. The president has the authority to keep such information under wraps, and exercised it only against the Democrats.

“Their goal here is to put the FBI on trial, to put Bob Mueller’s investigation on trial, and the president is only too happy to accommodate,” Schiff said.

Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the intelligence panel, said if Democrats were intent on making important information public, they should get to work. “Their memo is sitting at the House Intelligence Committee down at the bottom of the Capitol waiting to be redacted,” the California Republican told Fox News. “If they really wanted to get it out, they’d be down there all day yesterday redacting it, getting it back over to the White House so that the public can know what’s in it.”

Schiff said Democrats showed the memo to the Justice Department and the FBI and asked for their feedback before bringing it to the intelligence panel, and did not hear complaints about inaccuracy. But he said Democrats will “sit down with the FBI and go through any concerns that they have” about the disclosure of classified intelligence. “We will redact it to make sure that we’re very protective of sources and methods,” Schiff said.

In their memo, Republicans challenged how the FBI and Justice Department used information from former British spy Christopher Steele in obtaining a secret warrant to monitor Carter Page, who advised the Trump campaign on foreign policy. The memo alleges the FBI and Justice Department didn’t tell the court enough about Steele’s anti-Trump bias or that his work was partly paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Republicans argued that the reliance on Steele’s material politicized the government’s surveillance powers.

Democrats said that memo “cherry-picked” details. They noted federal law enforcement officials had informed the court about the political origins of Steele’s work, some of his information was corroborated by the FBI and other evidence was used to get the warrant. The Democratic memo is thought to elaborate on those points.

Short, though, said Democrats also introduced political theater into the episode. “We believe that Congressman Schiff potentially put in there methods and sources that he knew would need to be redacted,” he said. “And if we redacted it, then there would be an outcry that said the White House is trying to edit it. So we said take it back, work with the FBI, clean it up, and we’ll release it.” Asked if Democrats drafted a memo they knew would be blocked, Schiff said “of course not.”

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The New York Times just reported that former FBI Director James Comey sat for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller last year, focused on memos Comey wrote about his interactions with President Donald Trump.

And that’s not all. We’ve seen a number of new developments on the Trump-Russia probe over the course of the day. Here’s a brief roundup of today’s revelations so far.

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What was supposed to be a brief media availability with Trump and McConnell morphed into an impromptu press conference. Trump covered a lot of ground. We’ll have more stories to come, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Trump said he might try to talk Steve Bannon out of primarying Republican candidates.
  • Trump claimed that Obama didn’t call families of fallen soldiers while he was President. One of Obama’s former aides fired back, saying the claim was false.
  • Trump said the investigation into Russian election interference is just an excuse for Democrats losing in November. But he also notably said he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • Trump made a number of bombastic promises, saying that he and McConnell will eventually get Obamacare repeal done.
  • Trump vowed to declare the opioid epidemic a national health emergency next week.

More to come on the site.

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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will lead a moment of silence at 2:45 p.m. ET Monday at the White House, after a shooting massacre in Las Vegas left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

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