Trump tweets memo ‘totally vindicates’ him in Russia inquiry
President Donald Trump said Saturday that the memo released by the House Intelligence Committee the day before has vindicated him and proved that the special counsel’s 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 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.”
This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2018
Trump’s tweet appeared to support contentions made by Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff of California 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.
Quite the opposite, Mr. President. The most important fact disclosed in this otherwise shoddy memo was that FBI investigation began July 2016 with your advisor, Papadopoulos, who was secretly discussing stolen Clinton emails with the Russians. https://t.co/2rGOE1jGg2
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 3, 2018
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-Calif., 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 on 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. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a former federal prosecutor, 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 misled 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 four-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.
Trump continued to tweet about the Russia investigation Saturday evening. Trump touted what he called “great jobs numbers” and rising wages, but “nobody even talks about them.”
“Only Russia, Russia, Russia, despite the fact that, after a year of looking, there is No Collusion!” the president tweeted.
The two congressmen who actually saw the classified evidence in the Nunes memo, Trey Gowdy and Adam Schiff, both say Trump is wrong.
Trump’s own FBI and DOJ both say the Nunes memo is factually inaccurate.
By no objective measure does this vindicate Trump of anything.