4, February 2018
US President Donald Trump has defended a recent recent release of once-classified congressional memo on FBI, saying it “totally vindicates” him in an investigation into his presidential campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia.
The president took to Twitter on Saturday morning to once again deny any such collusion or obstruction.
“This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe,” he wrote. “But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. 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!”
On Friday, he approved the public release of a memo written by House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes that alleges the FBI abused its surveillance authority.
The release of the four-page document prompted senior Democrats to denounce the controversial memo as an inaccurate and misleading portrait intended to undermine the probe. They warned Trump, in a written statement, not to use it as a “pretext” to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.
Trump reportedly ordered f Mueller the firing of Mueller in June. Democrats, said in a statement that, the memo release is an attempt to undermine the integrity of Mueller’s investigation, warning that such action could trigger a constitutional crisis not seen since the 1970s, when then President Richard Nixon gave orders to fire justice officials involved in the Watergate scandal.
“We write to inform you that we would consider such an unwarranted action as an attempt to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation,” the statement said.
The memo’s central allegation is that the FBI and US Justice Department had been spying on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
GOP memo release sends ‘terrible message’ to US allies
Former CIA director Leon Panetta also warned that Trump’s approval of the congressional memo sends a “terrible message” to US allies to be worry about sharing classified information with Washington.
Panetta, who was discussing the memo release with the CBS News on Friday, described it as an “unprecedented” move, which could have far-reaching effects on Washington’s foreign policy.
“All of this sends a terrible message to our allies who are going to worry about sharing classified information that is so easily released as part of this political effort,” said the former CIA director.
He also called Trump’s move as “a breakdown in the fundamental trust that is important to the institutions of our democracy.”
There are currently several investigations into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but Trump has consistently denied any ties with Moscow. Analysts, however, say Trump’s attempts to hinder the probe, including his attempts to sack Mueller, suggests that he has something big to hide.