Trump says Republican memo 'totally vindicates' him

Last Updated 04 February 2018, 08:32 IST

President Donald Trump said on Saturday that a partisan memo released by House Republicans "totally vindicates" him in the investigation into Russian election interference, complaining that the "witch hunt" would go "on and on" even though there had been no collusion or obstruction of justice.

Trump, who is in Florida for the weekend, took to Twitter to proclaim his innocence and denounce the investigation a day after he had authorised the release of the highly contentious classified memo.

The document claimed that top law enforcement officials had abused their powers to spy on a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being an agent of Russia.

"This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe," the president wrote in a Twitter post.

"But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. 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," he added.  

The memo, while trying to paint the origins of the Russia investigation as tainted, did nothing to clear Trump of either collusion or obstruction - the lines of inquiry being pursued by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

The memo, in fact, undermined Republicans' effort to cast doubt on the roots of the investigation by confirming that the inquiry was already underway when law enforcement officials obtained a warrant from a secret intelligence court to conduct surveillance on Page.

The Republican document, which Democrats dismissed as containing cherry-picked information and focusing on an obscure figure in the Trump campaign, confirms that a primary factor in the opening of the investigation in July 2016 was initial contacts between a former Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos and Russian intermediaries.

But Republicans say the memo raises serious questions. They say the FBI should have told the court that the source of some of the information on which it was basing its request for a warrant involving Page had been paid for by Democrats.

Returning to Twitter on Saturday night, Trump quoted from a Wall Street Journal editorial that claimed the FBI had become "a tool of anti-Trump political actors," writing: "The four page memo released Friday reports the disturbing fact about how the FBI and FISA appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath....The FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier....the FBI became....

"...a tool of anti-Trump political actors. This is unacceptable in a democracy and ought to alarm anyone who wants the FBI to be a nonpartisan enforcer of the law....The FBI wasn't straight with Congress, as it hid most of these facts from investigators."

Trump has become increasingly open about his dissatisfaction with top law enforcement officials as Mueller continues to interview former and current White House staff members.

On Friday, after declassifying the memo, the president hinted that senior leaders in the Justice Department and the FBI should face consequences for conduct he called "a disgrace".  

(Published 04 February 2018, 07:56 IST)

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