Trump says Russia probe memo proves bias

Posted on 12/17/2018

US President Donald Trump is accusing the FBI of politicising a Republican memo on the Russia probe.The congressman who pushed for the release of a classified memo some Republicans claim shows an abuse of FBI surveillance says there’s “no evidence of collusion” between US President Donald Trump and Russia.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told Fox News on Friday Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray “have work to do”.

But he didn’t say if they would be fired.

Trump on Friday, despite opposition from the FBI and the Department of Justice, declassified a Republican-drafted memo which alleges the probe into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia is a product of political bias against Trump.

Democrats say the four-page memo mischaracterises highly sensitive classified information and is intended to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia matter launched in May 2017, which grew from an earlier FBI probe.

Two White House officials on Friday said Trump was not considering firing Rosenstein, although Trump declined to express confidence in the Justice Department’s second-in-command who had objected to the memo’s release.

Rosenstein is overseeing the Mueller probe and has been a growing target for the president’s frustration as the investigation continues.

Vice President Mike Pence gave no hint of the controversy while campaigning in Pennsylvania, urging supporters to “have faith” in Trump.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he’ll make sure Congress’ concerns are examined about the FBI investigation into possible co-operation between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Sessions says he will “forward to appropriate DOJ components all information I receive from Congress regarding this”.

Sessions did not elaborate but the Justice Department’s inspector general is tasked with investigating employee misconduct.

Sessions has recused himself from the Russia probe, citing his own ties to Trump’s campaign.

Former FBI Director James Comey weighed in and said the memo doesn’t add up to much.

Comey asks on Twitter, “That’s it?”

He calls the memo “dishonest and misleading” and not worth the damage it’s done to public trust in US intelligence agencies.

Trump fired Comey last May with the White House initially saying it was due to his handling of the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email. But Trump later indicated it was about the FBI’s Russia probe.

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner says he’s read the classified documents that formed the basis of the memo and says “they simply do not support its conclusions”.

The memo contends that the FBI relied excessively on an ex-British spy whose opposition research was funded by Democrats. Yet it also says the investigation actually began several months earlier.

The spy admitted to having strong anti-Trump sentiments but he was also a “longtime FBI source” with a credible track record.