Republicans trying to undermine Russia probes, US Democrats’ memo charges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic minority on the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Saturday released a response to Republican charges that the FBI and Justice Department have abused the law in their investigation of possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Democrats’ 10-page memo, released on Saturday in partially-redacted form, calls an earlier Republican version “a transparent effort to undermine” the FBI, the Justice Department, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and congressional probes into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The Republican memo, the Democrats allege, “also risks public exposure of sensitive sources and methods for no legitimate purpose.”

The Democratic memo and a Republican counterattack that included a point-by-point refutation of the minority Democrats’ conclusions, are an escalation of the partisan feuding that Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, and other members of his party have said is sabotaging the House committee’s investigation.

The latest duel on Capitol Hill comes as Mueller’s investigation gathers steam, including a guilty plea on Friday from Richard Gates, Trump’s deputy campaign manager.

In a message posted on Twitter, Trump responded, “The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!”

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