Before House Republicans released a disputed memo criticizing FBI surveillance in the ongoing Russia investigation Friday, with President Donald Trump's approval, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., insisted that the once-classified document had nothing to do with undercutting the special counsel's investigation.
"This is a completely separate matter from Bob Mueller's investigation, and his investigation should be allowed to take its course," Ryan said.
Trump seems to feel differently. He wrote a Twitter post about the memo while riding to his Florida resort Saturday morning: "This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe. 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 was drafted by staff working for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and has been an ardent Trump ally. It focuses on how the FBI obtained a warrant to eavesdrop on Carter Page in October 2016, shortly after Page left his position as a Trump foreign policy adviser because of questions about his contacts with Russians.
The investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election campaign predated the warrant, and Mueller wasn't appointed until May 2017, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Like Trump, his allies have seized on the memo, which questions whether the judge who approved the warrant was informed that the warrant application was based partly on information from Democratic-funded opposition research.
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