Trump Says Republican memo ‘totally vindicates’ him

US president proclaims innocence, denounces inquiry into Russian election interference

President Donald Trump said the contents of a controversial Republican memo tell a disgraceful story and that "a lot of people should be ashamed." Video: Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump has said a partisan memo released by House Republicans “totally vindicates” him in the investigation into Russian election interference, complaining the “witch hunt” would go “on and on” even though there had been no collusion or obstruction of justice.

Mr Trump, in Florida for the weekend, took to Twitter to proclaim his innocence and denounce the investigation a day after he had authorised the release of the highly contentious classified memo.

The document claimed top law enforcement officials had abused their powers to spy on a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, who was suspected of being an agent of Russia.

“This memo totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe,” the president wrote in a Twitter post. “But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!”

The memo, while trying to paint the origins of the Russia investigation as tainted, did nothing to clear Mr Trump of either collusion or obstruction – the lines of inquiry being pursued by the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

The memo in fact undermined Republicans’ effort to cast doubt on the roots of the investigation by confirming the inquiry was already under way when law enforcement officials obtained a warrant from a secret intelligence court to conduct surveillance on Mr Page.

Democrat dismissal

The Republican document, which Democrats dismissed as containing cherry-picked information and focusing on an obscure figure in the Trump campaign, confirms a primary factor in the opening of the investigation in July 2016 was initial contacts between a former Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, and Russian intermediaries.

Mr Trump has become increasingly open about his dissatisfaction with top law enforcement officials, as Mr Mueller continues to interview former and current White House staff members.

On Friday, after declassifying the memo, the president hinted that senior leaders in the Justice Department and the FBI should face consequences for conduct he called “a disgrace”.