US President Donald Trump has tweeted the released Republican memo ‘totally vindicates’ him.US President Donald Trump says a controversial memo attacking federal law enforcement written by congressional Republicans vindicates him in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Trump’s fervent embrace of the memo raised again the prospect that he may use it as justification to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting the investigation, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller.
Tweeting from his resort in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said the memo “totally vindicates” him but added “the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their (sic) was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction.” He called the investigation “an American disgrace”.
The White House told Reuters on Friday there would be no changes at the Justice Department as a result of the memo’s conclusions.
The memo, written by Republicans on the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee chaired by Devin Nunes, argues the federal investigation of potential collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia was a product of political bias against Trump at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department.
Trump approved the release of the formerly classified memo without redactions despite objections from the FBI.
Democrats contend the four-page memo mischaracterises highly sensitive classified information and was intended to undermine the Mueller criminal probe that was launched in May 2017 as an outgrowth an earlier FBI investigation.
Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Trump’s decision to allow the release of the memo was “part of a co-ordinated propaganda effort to discredit, disable and defeat the Russia investigation”.
Some Republicans also were critical of the memo’s release. John Kasich, the governor of Ohio and a former rival of Trump’s for the presidential nomination, released a statement on Saturday calling it “a disservice to our country”.
The memo alleges the FBI concealed the Democratic ties of a source the agency used to justify surveillance on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser with links to Russia. The memo revealed the names of senior FBI and Justice Department officials, including Rosenstein, who it said had signed off on the surveillance.
The Republican memo focused on court-approved surveillance of Page and said the FBI used a source who was strongly biased against Trump, former British spy Christopher Steele, to justify the action.
It alleged that a dossier of alleged Trump-Russia contacts compiled by Steele, and funded in part by Democrats, formed an “essential part” of requests to a special court to be allowed to conduct electronic surveillance on Page that began in October 2016.
Despite the memo’s charges, neither the focus on Page nor the FBI’s investigation of Trump-Russia ties began with the Steele dossier.