White House declassifies controversial memo on FBI conduct in Russia probe

After stirring debate in Washington, the Republican party and US President Donald Trump’s administration released a memo alleging an abuse of power by US intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice. The memo concerns the FBI’s investigation into allegations of collusion with Russia by members of Trump’s campaign.
Donald Trump Photo Credit: EPA-EFE

US President Donald Trump and members of the Republican party in Congress on Friday released a controversial memo concerning the probe into the administration’s ties with Russia. The memo was made public after a week of intense debate in Washington.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes published the memo several minutes after Trump approved its declassification. The US Department of Justice and FBI officials repeatedly warned against its publication, claiming it was inaccurate and misleading. Democrats have claimed the publication aimed to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

According to the four-page memo, the FBI had abused its power in its investigation of Trump’s presidential campaign. The memo claims the intelligence agency applied for a wiretap with insufficient context for surveillance.

The Nunes memo Photo Credit: Screenshot

Furthermore, the authors noted the FBI’s connections with people such as British spy Christopher Steele, who the memo says was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”  They claimed Steele was funded by the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“I think it’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country,” Trump told reporters when asked about the memo’s contents. “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.”

In a statement Friday, the FBI Agents Association said they will not "allow partisan politics to distract us from our solemn commitment to our mission,” adding that the agents risk their lives in the fight against criminals. "The American people should know that they continue to be well-served by the world's preeminent law enforcement agency” said Tom O'Connor, president of the association.



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