UPDATE | GOP memo criticizing FBI surveillance is released


GOP Memo

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GOP releases memo

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans today released a partisan and bitterly disputed memo that they say shows surveillance abuses in the early stages of the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.

The memo, prepared by Republicans on the House intelligence committee, says there was "a troubling breakdown of legal processes" in the Russia investigation.

President Donald Trump, who advocated for the memo's release over the fierce objections of the Justice Department and the FBI, told reporters the document shows "a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

"I think it's terrible," Trump said. "You want to know the truth. I think it's a disgrace. What's going on in this country, I think it's a disgrace."

The memo, which the FBI has said is inaccurate and missing critical context, asserts that current and former FBI and Justice Department leaders signed off on a surveillance warrant to monitor communications of a former Trump campaign associate.

The document also asserts that opposition research, conducted by a British spy and funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign, formed a critical basis for the allegations contained in the warrant application.

They say that research should not have been a basis for the warrant because it contains unproven allegations.

The release of the memo is likely to further divide Trump and his FBI and Justice Department leaders, and the president lashed out anew on Friday morning on Twitter. He has supported the memo release in apparent hopes that it could help undermine the probe being led by special counsel Robert Mueller, which he has called a "witch hunt."

"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. Rank & File are great people!" Trump tweeted.

The tweet came as U.S. news coverage was dominated by reports that the FBI and the Justice Department had objected strenuously to the memo's release. Earlier this week, the FBI declared it had "grave concerns" about its accuracy.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, said in response to the memo's release: “Republicans have been disingenuous about this memo and its implications from the start. President Trump’s own FBI director released a stunning statement calling into question the accuracy of the memo, while the President’s own Justice Department has called its release ‘reckless’ and his own FBI said they have ‘grave concerns’ about the memo’s omissions and accuracy. Our nation’s highest law enforcement agencies have told the President that he should not release this discredited memo. They have said it harms our national security. But this is just one more example of Donald Trump believing that the rules don’t apply to him."

He added: "To banish entirely any thought that this is more than a partisan hatchet job, the same committee that voted to release the memo subsequently voted against allowing the Democrats to release their own document, offering balanced context and analysis. I have read both memos and I believe the American public will take away the same thing I did, that the release of this document is a dangerous political ploy. Donald Trump and the Republican Party have found a new low."

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