ASHLEY PARKER: What's so striking about this is that this memo two weeks ago, almost exactly two weeks ago, President Trump didn't even really understand what it was or what it meant, but as soon as he sort of started watching his allies talk about it on TV and heard more about it and he became convinced that it would either give him the political cover or the legitimate justification, depending on what you believe, to potentially fire [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein, make changes at the Justice Department, he was absolutely convinced that he wanted this memo released. So, yes, there was this process that we all watched go through, but today's result, the memo being released with no redaction was very much, according to our reporting, a foregone conclusion for a number of days now.
KATY TUR (HOST): It bears underscoring what you just said, Ashley. That the president watched cable news to see how his allies were talking about it. This is a man who it seems to me is more aware of what people are saying on TV about him and the advice people are giving him on TV than he is from his own advisers, the people that he puts in those positions, the people that would know best. I don't know, [FBI Director] Christopher Wray went to the White House with Rod Rosenstein. Also -- remember, a Donald Trump appointee, saying that this is not good to release. We have grave concerns about it. It is misleading, it is not true. But Donald Trump would rather listen to cable news hosts? By the way, this is Donald Trump leaving for the event Kristen Welker mentioned a moment ago. Ashley?
PARKER: So this is sort of a combination. You're exactly right, not only did Christopher Wray and Rod Rosenstein go to the White House, but we reported that five FBI agents including at least one in the counterterrorism division went to the White House to make their case. Obviously the FBI and the Department of Justice released public statements. And the way, again, we understand it is that President Trump first heard about it from two allies in a phone call, two members of the House Freedom Caucus, [Congressmen] Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), sort of said, hey there's this memo that could really help you politically. You should declassify it. And then as soon as he learned about it, and you're exactly right, he did learn about it watching it on TV. We also heard a little bit reading in the papers, but it was watching his allies make the case on TV, we heard that at one point [Congressman] Trey Gowdy was on CNN, made a very forceful kind of fiery pitch for why the public deserved to see the memo and that excited the president. It animated him. And all along the way, all of those sort of channels the president watching, receiving information, are what led him ultimately to this conclusion.
Report: Sean Hannity has been advising Trump on Nunes memo
The big #ReleaseTheMemo flop
Shep Smith points out Rep. Devin Nunes' history of pushing baseless partisan propaganda
CNN's Jim Sciutto: GOP memo’s key claim, that FISA surveillance of a Trump official wouldn’t have happened without the Russia dossier, is disputed