Trump steps up fight over Russia probe, backs release of secret memo

President Donald Trump and his Republican allies on Friday escalated a campaign against U.S. law enforcement agencies over their probe into Russia by making public a classified memo that the FBI had sought to keep under wraps. The document, drawn up by congressional Republicans, alleges bias against Trump at the FBI and Justice Department in the federal investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia and whether the president has sought to obstruct the probe. Ignoring a plea from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Trump approved the release of the memo, deepening an extraordinary breach between the president and senior law enforcement officials over a probe that has dogged him during his first year in office. Trump declassified the four-page memo, telling reporters its contents told a “disgraceful” story of bias against him. Republicans on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee wrote the memo and released it to the public. The document has become a flashpoint in a battle between Republicans and Democrats over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal probe into the Russia matter launched in May 2017 that grew out of an earlier FBI investigation. Democrats say the memo uses cherry-picked classified information, and they believe Trump’s allies might use it to give him a reason to fire U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller, or even Mueller himself. Asked on Friday by reporters if he had confidence in Rosenstein or whether he would fire him, Trump replied, “You figure that one out.” Dismissing… [Read full story]


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