Trump Dismisses Democratic Memo As Total Bust’

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with North Korean defectors where he talked with reporters about allowing the release of a secret memo on the FBI’s role in the Russia inquiry, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Congress has released a redacted, declassified memo that aims to counter GOP allegations that the FBI abused government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference. President Donald Trump had less concern about an earlier classified memo written by Republicans, which he declassified Feb. 2 over strong objections from the FBI. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the Democratic memo that aims to counter GOP allegations that the FBI abused government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is dismissing the Democratic memo about Russia election meddling as “a total and legal BUST.”

Democrats on the House intelligence committee on Saturday released the memo in an effort to rebut GOP claims that the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

In a series of tweets Saturday, Trump criticized the memo and asserted, “Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!”

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5:40 p.m.

The White House says a Democratic memo rebutting GOP claims of surveillance abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation fails to answer serious questions.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says questions raised by a memo released earlier by Republicans on the House intelligence committee cover the use of partisan opposition research from one candidate as the basis for asking a federal court to approve surveillance of a former associate of a rival candidate.

Sanders says the Democratic memo is “politically driven.”

She says nothing in the memo counters the fact, as the president has been insisting, that neither he nor his campaign ever colluded with a foreign power during the 2016 election.

The White House objected to its release Feb. 9, citing national security concerns. Democrats have since negotiated with the FBI on what material should be blacked out.

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5:15 p.m.

A memo released by House Democrats details alleged efforts by Russian operatives to recruit a former Trump campaign aide as a spy.

Carter Page was targeted for recruitment in 2013 by a pair of Russians indicted by the U.S. government. The FBI asked Page about his contacts in a March 2016 interview, according to the memo.

The memo released Saturday cites evidence that was included in applications to conduct surveillance on Page.

The memo also details Russian attempts to cultivate Page as a spy. It cites a federal indictment of two Russian spies who allegedly targeted Page for recruitment and notes that the FBI interviewed him based on those suspicions in March 2016.

In response to the Democratic memo, Page calls it “misinformation” and “the latest smear campaign” by Democratic Party loyalists.

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4:55 p.m.

Democrats have released a memo rebutting GOP claims that the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

The declassified Democratic memo seeks to dispute a main contention from a declassified GOP memo released earlier this month.

The GOP document accused the FBI and Justice Department of using information compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele to obtain a secret warrant to monitor a Trump associate without revealing that Steele’s materials were funded by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Republicans had said that federal authorities had not disclosed enough to the court about the political nature of the work.

But the Democratic memo contends that the Justice Department disclosed “the assessed political motivation of those who hired him.”

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4:30 p.m.

Congress has released a redacted, declassified memo that aims to counter GOP allegations that the FBI abused government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

The release comes after weeks of back and forth over how much of the Democratic document would be redacted. The White House objected to its release Feb. 9, citing national security concerns. Democrats have since negotiated with the FBI on what should be blacked out.

President Donald Trump had less concern about an earlier classified memo written by Republicans, which he declassified Feb. 2 over strong objections from the FBI. Trump claims the GOP memo “vindicates” him in the ongoing Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, though other Republicans have disagreed.

FEB 24. 2018 6:42 PM EDT AP

 
 

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