President Donald Trump yesterday attacked the integrity of the FBI and Justice Department in an extraordinary showdown over the expected White House release of a secret Republican memo alleging FBI bias against him in its Russia probe.
Trump, who has long been angered over the probe, accused the country’s top law enforcement officers – some of whom he appointed himself – of politicizing investigations in favor of Democrats and against his fellow Republicans.
Trump has repeatedly complained about his treatment by federal investigators probing possible collusion between his campaign and Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election, and any actions to impede the investigation.
“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,” Trump said on Twitter. The president praised “rank and file” FBI employees.
The timing of his latest salvo – two days after the FBI warned publicly against releasing the classified memo – was sure to worsen the president’s frayed relations with agencies that are supposed to be politically independent.
A White House official said Trump was likely to give Congress approval later yesterday to release the four-page document that has become a flashpoint in a wider battle between Republicans and Democrats over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
The criminal probe grew out of the FBI’s Russia investigation after Trump fired FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation. Russia has denied meddling in the election campaign. Trump, who has called Mueller’s probe a political witch hunt, has denied any collusion or obstruction of justice.
The FBI expressed “grave concerns about material omissions of fact” in the Republican memo on Wednesday, in a rare public rebuke of the president and Republicans in Congress pushing to release the memo.
Democrats have depicted the memo, which was crafted by Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, as misleading, based on a selective use of highly classified data and intended to discredit Mueller’s work.
There has been speculation that FBI Director Christopher Wray, appointed by Trump after he fired Comey, might resign if Trump allows release of the memo.
Hindustan Surkhiyan News Desk: