A fierce partisan battle over the United States Justice Department and its role in the Russian Federation investigation moves into its second week as Democrats try to persuade the House Intelligence Committee to release a 10-page rebuttal to a controversial Republican memo alleging surveillance abuse.
In a series of television interviews, several lawmakers on February 4 expressed hope that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election and any ties to the Trump campaign would continue without interference.
What might be the lasting legacy of the Nunes memo is how President Trump reacted to it. Pressed on whether he was aware of the president's views on the issue, Priebus said Trump was "clear" about what he saw as Mueller's conflicts of interest in the job and allowed that others may have "interpreted that" as Trump's desire to fire Mueller. "The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Peter Strzok", the memo states.
"I think it's bad", he said.
President Donald Trump waves from Air Force One prior to departure from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Feb. 2, 2018, as he travels to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend.
Trump's political opponents warned that any move to use the memo as an excuse to fire members of the agencies carrying out the investigation would amount to obstruction of justice.
The President added: "It's a disgrace what's happening in our country".
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also tried to separate the memo from the Mueller probe last week, even as some members of his caucus accused top DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials of committing treason against the U.S. Speculation continues that the memo will give Trump political cover to have Mueller fired and squelch the probe that has already seen charges brought against four of his campaign aides. The memo does confirm that Steele's dossier was used at least in part to justify a decision to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump aide Carter Page.
The FBI objected, however, saying it had "grave concerns" that the document gave an inaccurate account of the application to carry out surveillance on Page.
In the analysis of the memo, Nadler suggests the document serves only to protect Trump amid the Russian Federation investigation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday - before Trump's comments - said Rosenstein represents "the kind of quality and leadership that we want in the department".
She also said the Nunes memo is an attempt to make the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller look "not worthwhile", and that Republicans engaged in "cherry-picking" information to include in the memo. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), said the FISA court was made aware that a portion of the government's evidence came from a political source.