Trump released unredacted controversial GOP memo criticizing FBI (UPDATE 3)
Despite requests from the FBI, President Donald Trump today released unredacted the controversial GOP memo criticizing FBI surveillance — a memo the House Intelligence Committee decided to release while slapping a gag order on a Democratic response to their memo. The House GOPers also turned down an FBI request to meet with them.
Now speculation is mounting quickly that Trump will move to fire Rod Rosenstein so he can either get someone more “loyal” to oversee Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, or get someone more pliable who will agree to fire Mueller. In short, the U.S is now on the brink of — if not now totally immersed in — a constitutional crisis.
A GOP memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI has been released, intensifying a fight between the White House and Republican lawmakers, on one side, and the nation’s top law enforcement agency over whether the origins of a probe into Russian interference in 2016 were tainted by political bias.
President Trump had approved release of the memo without redactions Friday morning.
The president told reporters in the Oval Office, “I think it’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country. A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that.”
The FBI and the Justice Department had lobbied strenuously against the memo’s release. In a statement Wednesday, the FBI had said it was “gravely concerned” that key facts were missing from the memo, which, it said, left an inaccurate impression of how the agency conducted surveillance under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Friday morning, the president tweeted in anticipation of the memo’s release, saying: “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.’’ He added: “Rank & File are great people!”
Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted in response, “No, Mr. President it’s worse than that. The country’s top elected leader has agreed to selectively and misleadingly release classified info to attack the FBI — that’s what would have been unthinkable a short time ago.”
The memo has been the subject of intense debate in Congress, but the fight ratcheted up this week when the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to make the document public under a process that gives the president up to five days to block its release. The committee Republicans also voted not to release a Democratic rebuttal memo, saying they would allow that document to be made public in the future.
It is highly unusual for the White House and the FBI to be publicly at odds over a matter of national security, and it is unclear what impact the disagreement might have on the standing of FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, two Trump appointees who went to the White House on Monday in an unsuccessful bid to urge that the memo not be released.
Law enforcement officials have expressed fear that Trump may try to use the memo’s release as justification to fire Rosenstein, who is overseeing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the Russia interference probe.
FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) President Thomas O’Connor issued a statement following the memo’s release.
“The men and women of the FBI put their lives on the line every day in the fight against terrorists and criminals because of their dedication to our country and the Constitution,” he said.
“The American people should know that they continue to be well-served by the world’s preeminent law enforcement agency. FBI Special Agents have not, and will not, allow partisan politics to distract us from our solemn commitment to our mission.”
It certainly sounds as if Trump has taken his reported informal advisor Fox News’ Sean Hannity’s advice.
And now fired Director James Comey has issued this tweet (NOTE: earlier tweet put in was the wrong one):
That’s it? Dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen. For what? DOJ & FBI must keep doing their jobs.
— James Comey (@Comey) February 2, 2018
AP’s Jonathan Lemire reports that in Oval Office, Trump was just asked if he was more likely to fire Rosenstein and if he still had confidence in him, and that President said, "You figure that one out."
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) February 2, 2018
Here we go….
God save our republic. https://t.co/yL6H7A91hN
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) February 2, 2018
Cry havoc, and loose the dogs of war.
What will follow won't stop until Trump and everyone who supported him pays the maximum price. https://t.co/tbizQTRAiB
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) February 2, 2018
This seems to be one of the big takeaways. The very last item on the very last page. The Nunes memo says: "the Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016." pic.twitter.com/Ml9mZKWWs2
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 2, 2018
Pelosi: "President Trump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by releasing highly classified and distorted intelligence. By not protecting intelligence sources and methods, he just sent his friend Putin a bouquet." https://t.co/X0E7hXhGni
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 2, 2018
Well patriots, it’s mayhem time. Buckle up, hold on, and enjoy the ride. Catch you all soon. 🙂
— Counterchekist (@counterchekist) February 2, 2018
Trump authorized the release without redactions, so I don't ever want to hear anything about the GOP being the party of NatSec again.
This is insane.
— Angry WH Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) February 2, 2018
Alright. #NunesMemo thread:
Most significant omission from Nunes is October 21, 2016 was NOT the originating FISA warrant approved for Carter Page.
Nunes does conveniently articulate that the evidence against Page warranted at least 3 separate probable cause renewals. pic.twitter.com/fy5DLDzpNO
— Angry WH Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) February 2, 2018
But let's be fair; here is what it does say– that Devin Nunes and his enabler Paul Ryan are in the pockets of Putin, Russian intelligence leaders and a president and White House desperate to do anything to quash a legitimate investigation. And that FoxNews is state-run media. https://t.co/OO9aMQAfsc
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) February 2, 2018
Top Senate and House Democrats warn Trump that using Nunes memo as pretext for removing Rosenstein, Mueller or other Justice Department leadership would be viewed as an attempt to obstruct justice in Russia investigation pic.twitter.com/0uZTDBhVlD
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) February 2, 2018
Wow. This Nune memo is even less impressive than I thought. All these mouth-breathing idiots who called this worse than Watergate just got clowned.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) February 2, 2018
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) February 2, 2018
WSJ finds no evidence of a conspiracy against Trump. Deep hatred of Russia by FBI agent. This is a nuanced picture. Required reading. https://t.co/EiB11KIs7e
— Shane Harris (@shaneharris) February 2, 2018
After all this… the #NunesMemo is a 4-page defense of Carter Page? The same guy who was under investigation for Russia contacts as far back as 2013? Clearly the intent of this memo is nefarious, but the idea that this gives Trump his excuse to go on a firing spree is laughable.
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) February 2, 2018
What Republicans thought they were getting with the Nunes Memo vs. what Republicans got with the Nunes Memo pic.twitter.com/kYTqFk2sLP
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) February 2, 2018
Congrats, Republicans. You just released a memo that confirms the FBI didn’t get FISA warrants based off the Dossier. Debunking your own conspiracy theory with your own document. Meta. #RemoveNunes
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 2, 2018
My reaction to #NunesMemo: THAT'S IT? Vast majority of this was already publicly known, memo itself omits that Fusion GPS started its work for Republicans, and NOTHING IN HERE MERITS CRITICISM OF ROSENSTEIN who is mentioned only once and in passing. This is a complete sham.
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) February 2, 2018
— Michael Steele (@MichaelSteele) February 2, 2018
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