Democratic, Republican lawmakers: Memo doesn't clear Trump in probe

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The House intelligence committee's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election spun further into charges and counter-charges among angry US lawmakers and President Donald Trump as the panel voted to release a second classified memo about whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department conspired against him.

The memo, written by Republicans on the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee chaired by Devin Nunes, argues that the federal investigation of potential collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation was a product of political bias against Trump at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee is slamming the release of a congressional memo that alleges FBI surveillance abuses in an investigation into the Trump campaign's Russian Federation ties. Broadly, the memo alleges that the collusion investigation is a politically motivated witch-hunt against Trump by conspirators in the FBI and US Department of Justice, and that the FBI is engaged in a cover-up of its own political motivations.

Wray, who was one of several top officials to urge the president against signing off on the memo's release, said in his message to employees, "The American people read the papers, and they hear lots of talk on cable TV and social media".

Also appearing on CNN, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin was asked what Democrats will do if Trump were to try to fire either or both men.

Democrats say that is the real and political objective here, to undermine Mueller's investigation.

Following the vote, the Trump administration had five days to consider whether to approve or block the memo's release, during which law enforcement officials vigorously appealed to the White House to keep the memo under wraps.

If only Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee felt the same.

US intelligence services say that one of the ways that Russian intelligence meddled in the election was by using "bot farms" to amplify social media claims that were helpful to Trump and harmful to his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The confirmation about Papadopoulos is "the most important fact disclosed in this otherwise shoddy memo", Schiff said Saturday.

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Special counsel Robert Mueller has already indicted two officials including Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and two more campaign officials have admitted lying to investigators - including onetime national security advisor Michael Flynn.

The 10-page Democrat-written document will now go to the White House for President Donald Trump to examine and potentially declassify. A counterintelligence investigation into the matter was launched by the FBI in July 2016.

After weeks of buildup, the memo's release was such a letdown that even some right-wing outlets were distinctly underwhelmed.

In a tweet on Saturday, Trump said, "The memo totally vindicates "Trump" in probe".

Since his firing last May, Comey has made his personal feelings about Trump known, testifying in detail about personal interactions he says troubled him.

He questioned whether the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had coordinated with the White House in drafting the document seized on by the president to vent his grievances against the nation's premier law enforcement agencies.

Republicans argue that move undercuts the Russian Federation investigation, because it meant the FBI engaged in misconduct before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in order to get a warrant on Page.

The memo's release also comes amid an effort by Trump and congressional Republicans to discredit Mueller's investigation.

That's a departure from President Donald Trump, who was asked Friday whether he has confidence in Rosenstein.

For one, Democrats said it was misleading and incorrect to say a judge was not told of the potential political motivations of the people paying for Steele's research.