January 29, 2018

We finally know the gist of what's in the manufactured Nunes memo, thanks to this New York Times story:

"The New York Times reports the this morning that House Republicans' controversial memo on the FBI and the Justice Department targets deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who has oversight of the special counsel's Russia probe," Mika Brzezinski said.

"According to the Times, three people familiar with the memo say it reveals Rosenstein approved an application to extend surveillance of former Trump campaign associate Carter Page shortly after taking off this past spring. This allegedly shows the Justice Department under President Trump saw a reason to believe Page was acting as a Russian agent.

"Court documents earlier disclosed that Page interacted with an undercover Russian spy in 2013, but Page denies he would have knowingly cooperated with Russian intelligence. According to the Washington Post, the president has told close advisers that the memo is starting to make people realize how the FBI and Mueller probe are biased against him, and that it could provide him with grounds for either firing Rosenstein or forcing him to leave. Trump has derided Rosenstein as the Democrat from Baltimore. However, as we have pointed out, he is not a Democrat."

She went on:

"The Post cited two people familiar with the president's comments on how he views the DOJ. Trump has complained to confidants in recent weeks that he doesn't understand why he can, quote, give orders to my guys, what he sometimes calls the Trump Justice Department. On Saturday, White House special counsel Ty Cobb responded, 'We do not find it to be a coincidence that there is an onslaught of false stories circulating in what appears to be a coordinated effort to distract and deflect from new revelations the about already reported bias and corruption.'"

Brzezinski asked Shannon Pettypiece, Bloomberg's White House correspondent, if panic at the White House is setting in.

"I think they know a storm --if not a storm, a circus is certainly coming with this interview with the president, that at the this point it is not a matter of if, but it is when and under what terms. and the lawyers have been spending weeks to get the terms as favorable to them, to have it in a comfortable setting that they like," Pettypiece said.

"There had been discussion at one point about getting questions in writing which I don't think is going to happen. We're probably a matter of weeks away. I mean, we could be talking two weeks rather than five weeks away. They have been having these talks for a while now, since the first of the year. There's a lot of lawyering going back and forth, but all the momentum is heading in that way.

"And then once we have that interview, if indeed on the obstruction end Mueller is waiting for the president to be interviewed near the very end, so he has all this information before he talks to the president, then it could be another few weeks until Mueller actually comes together and writes up his report on the obstruction end," she said.

"So, really, like, I mean, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the timeline here, but we could be looking at having this obstruction end, you know, wrapped up maybe in February or March timeline. Now we reported last week that that is still only one end of Mueller's investigation, obstruction. There are still other pieces of this investigation that will go on. But it does look like he is nearing, reaching some conclusion on obstruction.

"I'll just throw in, to get to the Rosenstein point, Rosenstein I think is a lot more important than people realize here because it is very possible Rosenstein will be the one who determines how the information that Mueller reaches is conveyed, if it is sent to Congress, if it's released publicly."

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