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(Patagonia Passion)

The cameras were in place. The horses were saddled up.

But two minutes before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived at the Wesley ranch in the breathtaking Argentine Patagonia, reporters and photographers were abruptly hustled away and told they would not be allowed to document the diplomat on horseback.

Tillerson’s horse ride into the Nahuel Huapi national park had been seen as the highlight of his visit to this gorgeous piece of Argentina during a seven-day, five-nation diplomatic tour of Latin America. But you won’t see pictures of it.

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(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

Before House Republicans released a disputed memo criticizing FBI surveillance in the ongoing Russia probe on Friday, with President Trump’s approval, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan insisted that the once-classified document had nothing to do with undercutting the special counsel’s investigation. 

"This is a completely separate matter from Bob Mueller's investigation, and his investigation should be allowed to take its course,” said Ryan (R-Wis.)

President Trump seems to feel differently, and he fired off a tweet about the memo while riding to his Florida golf course on Saturday morning.  

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President Trump and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.
President Trump and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

After the release of a classified Republican memo and another early-morning Twitter slam from President Trump, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray offered his employees a strong show of support Friday — and made clear that he has no plans to step down.

“You’ve all been through a lot in these past nine months and I know it’s often been unsettling, to say the least,” he said in a video message.

“Talk is cheap,” he said. “The work you do is what will endure.”

(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

K.T. McFarland, a former White House official whose nomination to be ambassador to Singapore was blocked in the Senate amid questions about her Russia ties, withdrew from consideration for the post on Friday.

President Trump in a statement said he was “disappointed” by the withdrawal of McFarland, who’d been a national security aide, and blamed Democrats for opposing her confirmation.  

“Unfortunately, some Democrats chose to play politics rather than move forward with a qualified nominee for a critically important post,” Trump said.

While congressional Republicans were split over the decision to release the GOP memo on FBI surveillance Friday, Democrats lambasted what they view as a partisan effort to undermine the Justice Department and its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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The decision from President Trump to give the green light to the memo was not surprising. A senior administration official said on Thursday that he would approve the memo’s release.

Trump, speaking with reporters at the White House at midday, confirmed he had declassified the memo and said it was in Congress’ hands.

“I think it’s terrible,” he said, apparently referring to the memo’s contents. “I think it’s a disgrace whats going on in this country.”

The impending release of a classified memo about FBI surveillance of a former Trump advisor is further dividing Republicans, who now find themselves in the unusual position of bucking the nation’s top law enforcement agency to stand by President Trump in what could prove to be a risky political gambit.

(AFP/Getty Images)

As Congress prepares to release a controversial memo against the will of the FBI, President Trump on Friday again lashed out at the agency’s leaders, tweeting that they have “politicized the sacred investigative process.”

Trump, who touts himself as pro-law enforcement, added that “Rank & File are great people!”

Trump and his Republican allies in Congress who drafted the memo say it shows the FBI is biased against him as it investigates potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian agents and potential obstruction of that investigation by Trump.

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Mitt Romney announced Thursday he has an announcement to make and unless he changes his mind — or plans to shock all humanity — the expectation is that he will formally launch his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee will start the race as an overwhelming favorite to succeed seven-term GOP incumbent Orrin Hatch, who announced last month he would not seek reelection.

Although he made his business and political careers elsewhere, the former Massachusetts governor is no stranger to Utah, where Romney attended Brigham Young University and helped rescue the financially imperiled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He keeps two homes in Utah and is regarded as something of a native son.

  • Russia
President Trump leaves the White House for a Republican retreat in West Virginia on Thursday.
President Trump leaves the White House for a Republican retreat in West Virginia on Thursday. (Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press)

President Trump will likely tell the House Intelligence Committee on Friday that it can release the controversial memo about secret surveillance used during the Russia investigation, according to a senior administration official.

“The president is OK with it,” the official said. “I doubt there will be any redactions. It’s in Congress’ hands after that.”

Trump’s approval appeared preordained on Tuesday night when Trump said he “100%” supported the memo’s publication publication.