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Trump to release damning FBI memo

China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-03 09:25

Intelligence services accused of bias against the president

WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump is expected to approve the publication of a controversial classified memo alleging the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department abused its surveillance powers during the Russia probe, local media reported.

Trump is expected to inform Congress as early as Friday, several media outlets quoted anonymous White House sources as saying.

The president has read the memo and "is okay with it", a senior White House official told reporters traveling with Trump to West Virginia.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Russian Federation Efforts to Interfere in the 2016 US Elections" on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, June 8, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

The memo, prepared by Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is said to be part of a bid to prove that the FBI and Justice Department are biased and out to get the president. Nunes, who served on the Trump transition team, is widely seen as Trump's close ally.

Democratic Party lawmakers have called the memo misleading and part of an effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 elections.

The memo was meant to "sow conspiracy theories and attack the integrity of federal law enforcement as a means to protect President Trump", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.

Russia and Trump have both denied any collusion. The president has called Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt" and "hoax".

The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee on Monday voted along party lines to approve the release of the four-page memo.

Two days later, the committee's Democratic ranking member, Adam Schiff, charged that Nunes hadn't even sent the same memo to the White House that the full committee had voted on.

Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, confirmed that the memo had been edited, but said that the changes included "grammatical fixes and two edits requested by the FBI and by the Minority (the Democrats) themselves".

Also on Wednesday, the FBI said in a statement that it has "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy".

Meanwhile, former FBI Director James Comey defended the agency on Thursday on Twitter, writing: "All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would."

Since his firing last May, Comey has made his personal feelings about Trump known, testifying in detail about personal interactions he said troubled him.

Comey has also used language about "weasels" before, most notably in a September 2016 congressional hearing when he defended the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

"You can call us wrong, but don't call us weasels," Comey said. "We're not weasels."

Xinhua - Ap - Reuters

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