President Donald Trump said Saturday morning that a disputed four-page House Intelligence Committee memo, composed by Republicans and declassified by him on Friday, “totally vindicates ‘Trump’ ” in an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including possible ties to his campaign.
“This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on,” the president wrote in a tweet at 9:40 a.m. Saturday. “Their 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!”
The GOP memo was composed by the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and alleges the FBI abused its surveillance authority, particularly when it sought a secret court order to monitor a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. The FBI and the Justice Department lobbied against the release of the memo, with the FBI saying that it was “gravely concerned” that key facts were missing from it.
The memo states that the findings “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain [Justice Department] and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC),” which authorizes surveillance of individuals believed to be agents of foreign powers. The memo cites “a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process,” a reference to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The memo alleges a surveillance warrant was obtained and renewed on a former Trump campaign adviser, Page, with information from an individual with an anti-Trump agenda. Republicans have argued that the warrant taints the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Trump associates and agents of the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.
It is unclear whether Trump will use the memo to fire people involved in the Russia probe, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees it. Asked Friday by a reporter whether he was more likely to fire Rosenstein after the release of the memo and whether he had confidence in him, Trump replied, “You figure that one out.” Democrats warned against any dismissals at the Justice Department, saying such moves would trigger a constitutional crisis.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Jenna Johnson