WASHINGTON (AP) - Claiming vindication and straining to derail the Russia probe, President Donald Trump declassified a top secret congressional memo Friday, and suggested it proved the investigation of his presidential campaign was fatally flawed. Democrats said the document did nothing to clear him or his campaign, and the FBI said he’d endangered the nation’s security.
The memo, prepared by Republicans on the House intelligence committee, asserts that the FBI relied excessively on anti-Trump research funded by Democrats in seeking a warrant to monitor the communications of a Trump campaign associate - and that federal authorities concealed the full details of who was paying for the information.
Trump has been telling confidants that he believed the document would validate his concerns that the FBI and Justice Department conspired against him. But the FBI says the four-page document is inaccurate and stripped of critical context. And Democrats say the memo, which makes public material that is ordinarily considered among the most tightly held national security information, cherry-picks Republican talking points in an effort to smear law enforcement.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, said the GOP document “mischaracterizes highly sensitive classified information” and that “the selective release and politicization of classified information sets a terrible precedent and will do long-term damage to the intelligence community and our law enforcement agencies.”
The memo had been classified since it deals with warrants obtained from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The White House declassified it on Friday and sent it to the intelligence committee chairman, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, for immediate release.
The disclosure is likely to further escalate an intra-government conflict that has split the president and his hand-picked law enforcement leaders.