President Trump angrily tweeted Saturday morning about the disclosures of FBI procedures contained in a Republican congressional memo that was released Friday after the White House declassified it.
“This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe,” the commander in chief wrote, speaking of himself in the third person.
“But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on,” he continued. “Their [sic] was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!”
Trump was addressing the memo drafted by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, purporting to show that there was insufficient evidence to put Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page under surveillance during and after the presidential campaign. The four-page memo focused on the role of Christopher Steele, a former British spy who drafted a controversial dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia.
Nunes pointedly mentioned the fact that Steele’s work was funded by Democratic organizations.
(The memo also highlights reporting by Yahoo News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff, who was the first to report that Page was under federal investigation over a trip he had taken to Moscow two months earlier. In the new Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast, Isikoff discusses his role in the controversy.)
But the Nunes memo also shows, as Democrats on the committee have said, that the FBI’s broader investigation into Russian election meddling in 2016 and possible collusion with the Trump campaign did not originate with the Steele dossier.
The memo appears to reference what news reports have described as a boast by another Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, that the Trump campaign had access to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails, which had been hacked by Russian agents. Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn have both pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russia and are now cooperating with the probe.
Democrats claim that Nunes cherry-picked his claims to muddle the debate and potentially justify the firing of Justice Department officials overseeing the Russia investigation.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, responded to Trump’s tweet by pointing to Papadopoulos.
Quite the opposite, Mr. President. The most important fact disclosed in this otherwise shoddy memo was that FBI investigation began July 2016 with your advisor, Papadopoulos, who was secretly discussing stolen Clinton emails with the Russians. https://t.co/2rGOE1jGg2
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 3, 2018
The investigation has long drawn Trump’s ire. “I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday. “What’s going on in this country, I think it’s a disgrace.”
In a tweet Friday morning before the memo’s release, the president asserted that the “top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans.”
The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2018
Throughout the 2016 campaign and even after taking office, Trump has demanded that the Justice Department pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, his Democratic campaign foe, for a variety of alleged offenses.
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