The Slatest

Trump Escalates Fight Against FBI Ahead of Expected Release of Controversial Memo

President Donald Trump speaks at the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia.
President Donald Trump speaks at the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony on December 15, 2017 in Quantico, Virginia. NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

As Washington eagerly waits for the expected release of a controversial classified memo that claims wrongdoing by the FBI, President Donald Trump went on the offensive, accusing the top leadership of the bureau and the Justice Department of having “politicized the sacred investigative process.”

The commander in chief wrote the pair of incendiary tweets early Friday morning hours before the expected release of the memo over the objections of the FBI and the Justice Department. “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,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Just in case anyone interpreted that as an attack against all of the workers at the FBI and the Justice Department, Trump was sure to note that “Rank & File are great people!”

The president’s tweet came as the White House has made clear to reporters that Trump is ready to approve the release of the four-page memo that claims the FBI and Justice Department overstepped their surveillance authorities in their investigation into any ties between Russian operatives and the Trump campaign. The memo claims that to get a surveillance warrant the FBI presented allegations detailed in a dossier that was at least in part paid for by Democrats. The FBI has publicly opposed release of the memo, as have Democrats who say the memo is incomplete and the only reason for releasing it is to undermine the ongoing Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In his second Friday morning tweet, the president quotes Tom Fitton, the president of conservative group Judicial Watch, who claims the dossier was inappropriately used to get the warrant and “spy on the Trump team.” As could be expected, Fitton was on Fox & Friends Friday morning. Before going on the show, Fitton wrote: “It looks like today is the day for some accountability for the Deep State…”

Democrats quickly blasted the president for his early morning tweets, saying his messages amount to a clear effort to undermine the ongoing investigation. “This is designed to impugn the credibility of the FBI, to undermine the investigation, to give the president additional fodder to attack the investigation,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS. “And it’s a tremendous disservice to the American people.”