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Allegra Kirkland

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.

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UPDATE 6:16 p.m.: Schiff addressed these new reports in a press briefing and CNN appearance later Wednesday.

In his second hastily called press briefing on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) did little to quell a storm of speculation he kicked up hours earlier by divulging that the intelligence community “incidentally collected” information about President Donald Trump and his staff during the transition.

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Paul who?

The White House is going to great lengths to put distance between President Donald Trump and his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, as a series of explosive news reports emerge detailing the millions of dollars he received from a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin and a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that Manafort, a key member of the Trump campaign for six months, played “a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.” By Wednesday morning, Spicer was refusing to even say Manafort’s name, telling NBC News that “it would be inappropriate for us to comment on a person who is not a White House employee.”

Yet Trump’s ties to Manafort predate the 2016 campaign, and appear to have stretched well into the post-election transition period. FBI Director James Comey confirmed this week that the bureau is investigating ties between Trump’s associates and Russian officials, including whether there was any "cooperation" between the two, casting a cloud over the administration as it tries to shepherd the GOP's long-promised Obamacare repeal bill through Congress. Manafort is reportedly at the heart of this probe.

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Hours before the start of Monday’s long-awaited House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia’s interference in the U.S. election, President Donald Trump sent a tweet saying the “real story” is “the leaking of Classified information” about his administration. Republicans on the committee were apparently on the same page.

The partisan divide in questioning was stark: an overwhelming number of the questions Republicans directed to FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers focused on the national security risks and criminal consequences of leaking classified material to the press, while Democrats on the committee honed in on the explosive revelations that those leaks brought to light.

Over the course of the five-and-a-half-hour long hearing, Democrats surfaced the links between and Russian officials and Trump associates, Russia’s cyberattacks of U.S. systems, and Trump’s baseless allegation that he had his “wires tapped” by former President Barack Obama.

But Republicans barely touched on those subjects, staying laser-focused on leaks to the press—even suggesting, without evidence, that top Obama administration officials could be responsible for the leaks that led to the ouster of Trump's first national security adviser.

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FBI Director James Comey on Monday declined to answer questions about whether President Donald Trump either was under investigation during the 2016 election campaign or is currently.

Comey urged observers not to “overinterpet” his non-answers to questions from Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference in the election.

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