President Donald Trump said Saturday the memo released by the House Intelligence Committee on Friday has vindicated him and proved that the special counsel’s ongoing Russia investigation is an “American disgrace.”
In a tweet posted Saturday morning, Trump continued his attacks against his own FBI and Justice Department for its ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
“This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe,” the president tweeted. “But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on.”
Trump’s tweet appeared to support contentions made by Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), that the memo’s release was merely a partisan attempt to undermine the Russia investigation.
On Saturday, Schiff responded to Trump’s tweet by claiming that — far from vindicating the president — the memo in fact proved “quite the opposite.”
“The most important fact disclosed in this otherwise shoddy memo was that FBI investigation began July 2016 with your adviser, Papadopoulous, who was secretly discussing stolen Clinton emails with the Russians,” tweeted Schiff, who is the ranking member on the committee.
On Friday, after more than a week of speculation and partisan infighting, the White House declassified a memo written by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) and staffers.
FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials fought hard against the memo’s release, even issuing a rare statement claimingthat they had “grave concerns” about inaccuracies and misleading conclusions in the document.
In an interview with Fox News Friday, Nunes said although he helped write the controversial memo, he had not read the FISA application under question.
Instead, as part of an agreement with DOJ officials, Nunes said one Democrat and one Republican were allowed to read the documents. Former federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Schiff were selected.
House Republicans have touted the memo as proof that the premise of the Russia investigation is flawed. The memo argues that the FBI mislead the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about the basis for its application to eavesdrop on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The memo states that the decision to spy on Page was based on a “dossier” written by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who Republicans claim had an overt anti-Trump bias.
But after analyzing the 4-page document, many political analysts noted that the memo does not shed light on what role, if any, the dossier played in the special counsel’s inquiry. Others note that Page came under surveillance in October 2016, after the Russia investigation was well under way.