Donald Trump launches rambling tirade about ‘sacred cows’, ‘Russia Witch Hunt’ and ‘an American disgrace!’

Chris Stevenson
New York
,Emily Shugerman
Saturday 03 February 2018 15:54 GMT
Donald Trump speaks during a meeting at the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center
Donald Trump speaks during a meeting at the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center (Getty)

President Donald Trump has hit out at the reaction to the controversial Republican-drafted memo alleging abuses by the FBI during the federal Russia investigation, saying the document “vindicates” him, yet the “Russian Witch Hunt” goes on.

Coming as part of a series of tweets, Mr Trump also talked up his increasing poll numbers, bemoaning the fact the media will not cover them despite the fact that his numbers are higher than some “sacred cows”. He did not elaborate on who he was referring to.

The tweets come at the end of a busy week for Mr Trump that started with his first State of the Union address – which was relatively well received – and finished with the release of the so-called Nunes memo. That memo, named after Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee whose staff drafted the document, was already at the centre of a political firestorm over its contents before Mr Trump declassified it on Friday and allowed the House Intelligence Committee to release it.

Donald Trump's State of the Union address in 90 seconds

The memo raises concerns about the FBI securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) warrant as part of the investigation into possible collusion between Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The memo claims the FBI and Justice Department’s actions in obtaining the warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page “represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the Fisa process”.

Donald Trump says Nunes memo is declassified and Congress will "do whatever" with it

While many Republicans in Congress supported the release of the memo, Democrats claimed it represents an attempt to discredit the federal investigation into possible by using “cherrypicked” classified information – one which would set a dangerous precedent that would do “long-term damage” to the US intelligence community.

Both the Justice Department and the FBI objected to the release of the memo, with the FBI releasing a statement on Wednesday detailing “grave concerns” over its accuracy.

Mr Trump, writing his tweets from a weekend stop at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where he also visited the golf course, made his feelings clear about the investigation, calling it “an American disgrace” saying that it had found “NOTHING” and repeating his view that there had been “no Collusion”.

He also denied that there had been “obstruction,” said to be one of the areas the man leading the federal investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, is interested in. The goes back to Mr Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey last year. Mr Comey was the man in charge of the initial FBI investigation into Russian meddling and he alleged in testimony to Congress that Mr Trump had asked him to find a way to “let go” the agency’s investigation into Mr Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Mr Trump and the White House has denied such a conversation taking place. Mr Flynn has since pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians.

Seemingly with Mr Comey in mind, Congressional Democrats sent a letter to Mr Trump on Friday warning him against using the Nunes memo as a “pretext” to fire either Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation, or Mr Mueller.

Donald Trump asked whether he will fire Rosenstein: 'you figure that one out'

“Firing Rod Rosenstein, [Department of Justice] leadership, or Bob Mueller could result in a constitutional crisis of the kind not seen since the Saturday night massacre,” the Democrats wrote, referring to Richard Nixon’s firing of the Watergate special prosecutor in the 1970s.

As for the reference to poll numbers, Mr Trump’s tweet referred to the Rasmussen’s latest daily tracking poll, which marked his approval at 49 per cent – up from 45 per cent on 1 February, with the president likely to have seen a bump in the wake of his State of the Union address on 30 January. It is the highest Mr Trump has been in the Rasmussen poll since June. For comparison, Mr Trump’s White House predecessor, Mr Obama had a 50 per cent approval rating via Rasmussen at a similar time in his tenure.

The conservative-leaning Rasmussen poll routinely places Mr Trump’s approval ratings higher than other comparable trackers. According to Gallup’s latest data from 28 January, so before his address to Congress, Mr Trump’s approval polled at 38 per cent. Mr Trump has consistently seen his approval ratings hover from around 30 to 45 per cent throughout his first year. The average approval rating for Mr Trump is 41.9 per cent according to Real Clear Politics, with Mr Obama’s around this time was 49.9 percent.

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