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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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President Donald Trump last summer attempted to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the New York Times reported Thursday, but the President backed off after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit over the move.

The New York Times report is based on four people told of the matter, and it comes after Mueller’s team conducted a series of interviews suggesting that the special counsel was examining possible obstruction of justice allegations against Trump.

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A comment made by President Trump during a surprise gaggle with reporters Wednesday afternoon revealed how he views the allegations that he obstructed the investigation into Russian election meddling.

Asked if he thought Special Counsel Robert Mueller would be fair to him, Trump said “I hope so,” but only after he the compared obstruction of justice allegations to him fighting back.

“Because here’s what we’ll say, and everybody says: No collusion. There’s no collusion,” Trump said. “Now they’re saying, “Oh, well, ‘Did he fight back? Did he fight back?’ You fight back, ‘Oh, it’s obstruction.’ So, here’s the thing: I hope so.”

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A Wednesday letter signed by a Trump appointee in the Department of Justice blasted House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) for not allowing the DOJ to review an anti-FBI memo as House Republicans push for the document’s public release.

The letter, from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, revealed that the House Intel Committee had turned down FBI Director Christopher Wray’s “personal appeal” to review the memo. It also suggested that Nunes himself has not read the underlying intelligence that it is said to form the basis of the four-page memo.

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As House Intel Committee Republicans’ so-called #ReleaseTheMemo push becomes a full-on GOP obsession on Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) signaled in a floor speech Wednesday that Senate Republicans have a Russia probe conspiracy memo of their own they’d like to release— this one centered on allegations that Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy behind the Trump-Russia dossier, misled federal authorities.

“Stale, recycled media spin from journalists and pundits who do not have all the facts is not enough. The country is filled with frenzy and speculation, but hungry for facts,” Grassley said, according to prepared remarks released by his office.

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A new lawyer has joined the legal team of former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who is facing criminal charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, CNN reported Tuesday.

The lawyer, Tom Green, is not listed on the case’s court record yet and has not appeared on any filings. CNN’s report is based on an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The CNN report goes on to note what it suggests could be signs of negotations between Gates and Mueller.

One of those is that Green was spotted at Mueller’s office twice last week, according the report.

Another, it suggests, is the delay in filing a superseding indictment— a new indictment against an existing defendant, usually with additional counts or parties or both, that replaces the original indictment — in the case.

There’s long been the expectation that a superseding indictment may be filed against Gates, or against his longtime business partner, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is joining Gates in the charges. And CNN reports that, according to a source close to the investigation, superseding indictments against both men have been prepared. But no additional charges have yet been filed.

“When there is a delay in filing charges after they’ve been prepared, it can indicate that negotiations of some nature are ongoing,” CNN notes.

The report also notes that Green has experience cutting plea deals — citing specifically a plea deal he cut for Dennis Hastert — though, according to CNN, Green is also known to take cases to trial.

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A Washington Post report Tuesday sheds new light on the ongoing negotiations between President Trump’s lawyers and Special Counsel Robert Mueller about a potential Trump interview with Mueller’s team.

Citing two people familiar with Mueller’s intentions, the Post reports that the special counsel would like to ask Trump about the ousting of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and ex-FBI Director James Comey.

It has long been suspected that Mueller is interested in whether obstruction of justice occurred in connection with those departures.

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A bill to the end the government shutdown and fund the government through Feb. 8 passed swiftly in the House Monday, 266-150. Having passed the Senate earlier Monday afternoon, the legislation now heads to President Trump’s desk.

The House had last week, on mostly party lines, passed legislation to fund the government for four weeks. However, that bill was stalled by a filibuster by Senate Democrats and a few Senate Republicans early Saturday morning, prompting the three-day government shutdown that will end Monday.

The Senate agreed to reopen government Monday after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered to allow a vote on Senate legislation to address the so-called “DREAMers” — young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children — if there is not a broader immigration deal between the House and the White House.

Many House Democrats were frustrated that Senate Democrats folded on their filibuster, one of the few places that Democrats have any leverage when Republicans control both chambers and the White House.

Furthermore, House Republicans have made clear that they will not feel obligated to take up any potential bipartisan deal that comes out of the Senate.

“Republicans stayed consistent in our message: we said we would not negotiate resolving the DACA crisis in a shutdown and we’re glad the Democrats came around,” Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), who chairs the influential Republican Study Committee, told TPM has he headed into the vote.

Alice Ollstein contributed reporting

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The Senate voted 81-18 to reopen the government, sending a bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 to the House for final passage before it makes it to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

The vote was a foregone conclusion after the legislation made it easily through a 60-vote-threshold procedural vote in the Senate earlier Monday afternoon. There was a slight delay in the final passage vote as a technical issue — having to do with backpay for the furloughed workers during the three-day shutdown — was addressed.

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As the government shutdown approached the end of its second day, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that a vote on a bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 will take place at noon ET Monday — as opposed to 1 a.m., as originally scheduled. There is no guarantee that the legislation will earn the 60 votes it will need to overcome a filibuster, however.

In a floor speech announcing the schedule change, McConnell laid out an offer promising that the Senate consider an immigration bill if there is not a larger immigration deal between the Senate, the House and the White House by Feb. 8, assuming that there is not another government shutdown then. He also offered to vote on a spending bill on those terms at 10 p.m. ET Sunday night.

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