Donald Trump says a disputed memo alleging surveillance abuses against his 2016 campaign clears him.US President Donald Trump is claiming complete vindication from a congressional memo that alleges the FBI abused its surveillance powers during the investigation into his campaign’s possible Russia ties.
But the memo also includes revelations that might complicate efforts by Trump and his allies to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry.
The memo released on Friday contends that the FBI, when it applied for a surveillance warrant on a former Trump campaign associate, relied excessively on an ex-British spy whose opposition research was funded by Democrats.
At the same time, the memo confirms the investigation into potential Trump links to Russia actually began several months earlier, and was “triggered” by information involving a different campaign aide.
Trump repeated his claim that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.
“There was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead).”
Tweeting from Florida, where the president was was spending the weekend at his palatial resort and visiting a golf course he owns, Trump called the investigation “an American disgrace!”
Commissioned by Republican Devin Nunes, head of the House intelligence committee, the four-page memo alleges that senior officials involved in the early stages of the investigation favoured Democrats over Republicans in 2016 election.
The memo accuses the FBI and the Justice Department of misleading a judge to extend a surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.
But the Washington Post quoted an anonymous source on Saturday as saying that the Justice Department made “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” to the court.
These revealed “the research was being paid for by a political entity,” said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.
Trump fired FBI chief James Comey, who who had been in charge of the Russia investigation, in May.
The ouster of Comey – less than four years into his 10-year term as director of the law enforcement and counter-intelligence agency – led to the Justice Department’s appointment of special counsel Mueller to head the outside probe of election meddling.