- In a tweet Saturday morning, President Donald Trump said the GOP memo that was released Friday “totally vindicates” him in the Russia investigation.
- The tweet undermines claims from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the memo is a completely separate matter from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
- The memo claims that top law-enforcement officials acted improperly when signing off on the secret surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser.
President Donald Trump slammed the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation in a tweet Saturday morning, pointing to a controversial memo as evidence of bias against him at the FBI and the Department of Justice.
“This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
The tweet is at odds with what House Speaker Paul Ryan has said about the purpose of releasing the memo.
On Tuesday, Ryan was clear to distinguish the memo from Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and whether Trump obstructed justice during the course of the probe.
“This [memo] is a completely separate matter from Bob Muller’s investigation,” Ryan said, “and his investigation should be allowed to take its course.”
But Trump’s tweet indicates he sees the memo as an indictment of the integrity of Mueller’s investigation.
On Friday, Trump authorised the release of the memo, despite objections from Democrats, the FBI, and the DOJ, all of whom said the document contained significant inaccuracies and omissions that mischaracterized the intelligence community’s work.
The memo claims, among other things, that several top officials at the FBI and the DOJ acted improperly when they signed off on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications seeking to monitor Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
It was drafted by the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, and his aides, during the committee’s investigation into potential anti-Trump bias and corruption among senior law-enforcement ranks.
“A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves,” Trump told reporters shortly before signing off on the memo’s release.
But while the president and his allies said the memo presented damning evidence of bias at the DOJ and the FBI, it left experts underwhelmed, with many characterising it as a set of Republican talking points designed to undermine trust in the law enforcement and intelligence community.
Later on Saturday, Trump again took to Twitter, complaining that “nobody even talks” about his efforts to improve the economy due to the Russia investigation.
“Great jobs numbers and finally, after many years, rising wages- and nobody even talks about them,” he tweeted. “Only Russia, Russia, Russia, despite the fact that, after a year of looking, there is No Collusion!”
Michelle Mark contributed reporting.