“In phone calls last night and over the past days, Trump has told friends he believes the Nunes memo would expose bias within the agency's top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations are prejudiced against him,” Dan Berman tweeted. He’s talking about this piece from CNN: Trump sees Nunes memo as a way to discredit the Russia investigation written by Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Sara Murray, and Dan Merica. “Look for a decision today,” Jeff Zeleny added.
Indeed, the White House is worried FBI director Chris Wray could quit over Nunes memo release, Dana Bash, Jeff Zeleny, and Evan Perez write for CNN. “Kelly trying to find a compromise that keeps Wray happy,” Abby Phillip added.
In their article titled "Never any hesitation," Politico’s Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey write that Trump was quickly convinced to support the memo’s release. "Before he had even read it, Trump became absolutely convinced of one thing: The memo needed to come out," Gideon Resnick reiterated.
But wait, there’s more. Sean Hannity Has Apparently Been Advising Donald Trump on the Nunes Memo, Because Of Course He Has, Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng found out for The Daily Beast.
All in all, the rising White House fear is that the Nunes memo is a dud, according to Axios’ Jonathan Swan. “Actually laughed out loud,” Emily C. Singer admitted.
More about Russia
At Politico, Darren Samuelsohn reports that the Russia probe lawyers think Mueller could indict Trump. Samuelsohn added on Twitter: “On Mueller indicting POTUS, one attorney predicted: ‘If he’s going to do it, I think he’ll do it in the spring. I don’t think he wants to be accused of trying to influence the election that dramatically.’” Meanwhile, @moscow_project shared this quote from one of the lawyers, “If I were a betting man, I’d bet against the president.”
The Treasury Warns of Wide Impact If U.S. Sanctions Russian Debt, Saleha Mohsin, and Erik Wasson report in Bloomberg.
Elsewhere, the White House Wants the Pentagon to Offer More Options on North Korea, according to Mark Landler and Helene Cooper at the New York Times. Robert Caruso praised it as “an amazing story about the Pentagon slow-rolling military planning (and action?) with regards to North Korea. Ben Pershing teased that the story includes “quite an anecdote.”
Larry Nassar rushed in court
There was some commotion when a father rushed Larry Nassar in court after the man’s three daughters gave their victim impact statements. Beth LeBlanc reported on the kerfuffle for the Lansing State Journal.
CBS News also has an update on the situation, Moments Ago: Father Causes Incident At Larry Nassar Final Trial.
CNN explained the father of three daughters who were all assaulted by Larry Nassar tried to tackle the disgraced doctor in court.
Controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio gave his fifth interview to an anti-Semitic weekly, but says he doesn’t support those views, Eli Rosenberg writes at the Washington Post.
Emails show that Ben Carson’s family has been involved in official business at HUD, despite strong warnings from agency lawyers. This piece is the work of CNN reporters Juana Summers, Rene Marsh, Nia-Malika Henderson, and Sara Ganim.
The Publisher of Newsweek And The International Business Times Has Been Buying Traffic And Engaging In Ad Fraud, according to BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman.
And according to Chris Kirkham at the Wall Street Journal, casino mogul Steve Wynn asked employees during a company meeting to rally behind him even after sexual-misconduct allegations against him. “Steve Wynn in employee meetings questioned how the company could have such a good reputation if there were a culture of sexual misconduct,” Cara Lombardo shared. While Rebecca Ballhaus added, “NEW: WSJ has audio of employee mtgs in which Wynn urged them to rally behind him. Didn’t deny allegations—but said company’s good reputation ‘could not exist if we had predators running around.’”
Sunday Sunday Sunday
“It’s Super Bowl weekend. Are you ready for some football?” Marc Gunther teased. But before the game starts, take a moment to read Emily Kelly’s piece in the New York Times I’m the Wife of a Former N.F.L. Player. Football Destroyed His Mind. “Today we feel superior to the Romans who forced their gladiators to fight to the death or watched ‘volunteers’ do it. We are not,” Michael Balter added.
Meanwhile, The NFL Is Losing Its Core Audience, Jared Diamond wrote for the Wall Street Journal, citing a WSJ/NBC News Poll. “Just 51% of men aged 18 to 49 say they follow the NFL closely, down from 75% four years ago, a new poll finds,” Erich Eichman tweeted. “Greed, cynicism, political correctness, political activism and quants that increasingly take the human element out of strategy and coaching are killing the @NFL,” Peter Morici explained.