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Republicans split on what the Nunes memo means for Russia probe

President Trump started his Monday morning by attacking Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and a leading critic on the Russia investigation. Over the weekend, the president claimed the release of the Nunes memo was vindication against the Russia probe, but several Republicans publicly disagreed. Yamiche Alcindor reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • John Yang:

    The political fight over the Russia investigation rages on. Democrats pushed today for the House Intelligence Committee to release their response to a Republican memo. And the president traded jabs with the panel’s top Democrat.

    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor begins our coverage.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    President Trump was supposed to be focused on tax cuts. Instead, he started his day by going after a leading critic on the Russia investigation.

    His target? California Democrat Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

  • In early morning tweets, the president said:

    “Little Adam Schiff is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.” He also accused Schiff of illegally leaking confidential information.

  • Schiff fired back, saying:

    “Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected dreamers or really anything else.”

    The president made no further mention of Schiff or the Russia probe during his visit later to blue ash, Ohio. The day’s dust-up followed Friday’s release of the Nunes memo, written by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. It alleges that the FBI and Justice Department omitted vital information to obtain a special surveillance warrant for then-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

    Today, the House intelligence chairman, Devin Nunes, defended his handling of the issue.

  • Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif:

    We enjoy the criticism, because when you’re being criticized like this by all the major networks, and being attacked by the left, we know that we’re getting closer to the truth.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Over the weekend, Mr. Trump claimed the memo vindicated him in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. But on Sunday, several Republican lawmakers, including Chris Stewart of Utah and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, disagreed.

  • Rep. Trey Gowdy R- S.C.:

    I actually don’t think it has any impact on the Russia probe,

  • Rep. Chris Stewart R- Utah:

    This memo has, frankly, nothing at all to do with the special counsel. It would be a mistake for anyone to suggest that the special counsel shouldn’t complete his work.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Democrats readily agreed.

  • California Senator Kamala Harris:

  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D- Calif:

    The significance, really the gravitas and the significance of the memo is the disintegration, frankly, of our process. People are playing politics with our process, and when it comes to classified information, we have to understand that we shouldn’t be weaponizing it.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Late this afternoon, the Intelligence panel met to decide whether to release the Democratic rebuttal of the Nunes memo.

    For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Yamiche Alcindor.

  • John Yang:

    And the House Intelligence Committee has now voted to release that Democratic response.

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