GOP MEMO RELEASE: Pence quiet about memo as he campaigns in Pa.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — 4 p.m.

Courtesy: MGN

Vice President Mike Pence is giving no hint of the controversy engrossing Washington as he campaigns for a congressional candidate in Pennsylvania.

Click here to read the memo

Pence is urging supporters to "have faith" in President Donald Trump and other elected leaders "who are out there standing with the president."

But the vice president isn't mentioning the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. He is saying nothing about a House Intelligence Committee memo intended to cast doubt on the FBI's inquiry.

Republican lawmakers on Friday released a memo they wrote alleging surveillance abuses at the FBI. Trump declassified the memo earlier Friday.

Pence is in the Pittsburgh area Friday to tout Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone and to highlight the tax overhaul Trump signed in December.

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2:45 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he'll make sure Congress' concerns are examined about the FBI investigation into possible cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Sessions issued a statement Friday after Republican lawmakers released a memo they wrote alleging surveillance abuses at the FBI. President Donald Trump declassified the memo earlier Friday.

Sessions says he will "forward to appropriate DOJ components all information I receive from Congress regarding this." Sessions did not elaborate, but the Justice Department's inspector general is tasked with investigating employee misconduct.

Sessions says he has faith in department employees but that "no department is perfect." He says he'is "determined that we will fully and fairly ascertain the truth."

Sessions has recused himself from the Russia probe, citing his own ties to Trump's campaign.

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2:30 p.m.

The White House says a newly released GOP memo raises "serious concerns" about the Department of Justice and the FBI's handling of the Russia investigation.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders sent out a statement saying, "The memorandum raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the Government's most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens."

Trump allowed the memo to be released over the objections of the FBI and Justice Department.

While she's critical of the FBI's leadership, Sanders says President Donald Trump "is especially grateful to the hardworking rank-and-file public servants" at the agencies.

Sanders says the White House "stands ready" to work with Congress to consider allowing the release of a memo prepared by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

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2 p.m.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is challenging the accuracy of a memo released Friday by House Republicans.

President Donald Trump declassified the memo Friday, and Republicans released it in an effort to prove surveillance abuses at the FBI.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner says he read the classified documents that formed the basis for the memo, and "they simply do not support its conclusions."

Only two members of the House intelligence panel, one Republican and one Democrat, have read those underlying documents.

Warner says the act of declassifying information could make it harder for the intelligence committees to conduct oversight and could endanger Americans overseas.

North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. A spokeswoman says he's not commenting on the memo.

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1: 55 p.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey says a newly released Republican-written memo doesn't add up to much.

Comey asks on Twitter, "That's it?"

He calls the memo "dishonest and misleading" and not worth the damage it's done to public trust in U.S. intelligence agencies.

The memo was declassified by President Donald Trump and released Friday by House Republicans. It claims the FBI abused its surveillance powers in the Russia investigation.

Trump fired Comey last May.

The White House initially said the firing was due to Comey's handling of the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email. But Trump later indicated it was about the FBI's Russia probe.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been scrutinizing Comey's firing as he investigates possible obstruction of justice.

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1:20 p.m.

House Democrats are angry about the release of a classified GOP memo intended to show surveillance abuses at the FBI. They say it's an underhanded effort to protect President Donald Trump and discredit the investigations into Russian election meddling.

Democrats on the House intelligence panel had tried to block the memo's release. They say it mischaracterizes the motivations behind a 2016 surveillance warrant on Trump campaign official Carter Page.

They also criticized House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes for not having read the classified material that formed the basis for the memo.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says that by disclosing classified information, Trump had "sent his friend Putin a bouquet." She's referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Democrats on the House Judiciary committee said House Republicans are "accomplices" to obstruction of justice.

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12:50 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending is deputy in the face of criticism from the president.

Sessions broke from prepared remarks in a speech Friday on human trafficking. He praised Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (ROH'-zen-styn) as well as the department's No. 3 official, Rachel Brand.

Sessions says both are experienced lawyers and "represent the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department."

That's a departure from President Donald Trump, who was asked Friday whether he has confidence in Rosenstein. Trump said, "You figure that one out."

The criticism stems from a newly declassified GOP memo alleging the FBI abused surveillance powers in its investigation into possible cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Trump said, "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

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12:45 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump declassified the controversial GOP memo alleging FBI impropriety because the public interest outweighs any classification concerns.

The White House counsel says in a letter, "In light of the significant public interest in the memorandum, the President has authorized the declassification of the Memorandum."

The FBI and Department of Justice both opposed the memo's release, and the FBI says it has "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy.

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12:40 p.m.

House Intelligence Committee Republicans say they found "serious violations of the public trust" by intelligence and law enforcement agencies investigating Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

That's according to committee chairman Devin Nunes (NOO'-nehs). The California Republican sent out a statement after his committee released a controversial memo detailing what he says are abuses of power at the FBI and Department of Justice.

Nunes says he hopes the release "will shine a light on this alarming series of events" and spur "reforms that allow the American people to have full faith and confidence in their governing institutions."

The FBI had warned against releasing the memo. Democrats say the allegations are made solely to discredit the investigation.

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12:25 p.m.

The Republican-led House Intelligence Committee has released a memo based on classified information that alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

President Donald Trump cleared the way for publication of the controversial memo despite objections from the FBI. The four-page memo was drafted by Republicans on the committee chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The FBI, Justice Department and Democrats have furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release. They say it could harm national security and mislead the public. Republicans on the committee have said they believe they've uncovered serious misconduct that needs to be made public.

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12:02 p.m.

President Donald Trump says a newly declassified GOP memo alleging FBI abuses shows, "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

Trump tells reporters Friday: "The memo was sent to Congress, it was declassified. Congress will do whatever they're going to do. But I think it's a disgrace what's happened in our country."

Trump's decision to declassify the memo clears the way for the public release of the document. The memo was prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee based on classified information and alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

The FBI says it has "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy.

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11:55 a.m.

The White House says it has declassified a GOP-authored memo on the Russia probe. That clears the way for the House Intelligence Committee to release the document, which is based on classified information and alleges the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah says President Donald Trump cleared the way for publication of the controversial memo, despite objections from the FBI. The four-page memo was drafted by Republicans on the committee chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

The FBI, Justice Department and Democrats have furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release. They say it could harm national security and mislead the public. Republicans on the committee have said they believe they've uncovered serious misconduct that needs to be made public.



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