Shortly after President Donald Trump declassified the infamous Nunes memo, Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a statement Friday accusing the president and House Republicans of releasing the memo in an attempt to disrupt Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference and collusion during the 2016 campaign. While seeking to protect American politics from further Russian intrusions, Sanders referred to the memo as a “political stunt” and asked, “What is the president afraid of?”
Despite the fact that Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, recused himself from the Russia investigation last year, he recently drafted an unsubstantiated memo attempting to smear the reputations of several people involved with Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s campaign team.
Titled “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the Nunes memo named former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former Acting Attorney General Dana Boente, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as alleged co-conspirators who illegally signed FISA applications authorizing surveillance targeting Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. The Nunes memo also tried to discredit FBI source Christopher Steele while falsely accusing FBI Agent Pete Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page of engaging in a conspiracy with McCabe to take action against Trump’s election.
“Let’s be absolutely clear. The release of this Republican staff memo is a blatant attempt by House Republicans and the White House to disrupt the critically important investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign,” Sanders wrote in a statement on Friday.
“The fact that Congressional Republicans and the White House would release a memo the FBI itself says is misleading is a sad example of a political party putting partisanship above patriotism. That this memo was first released to right-wing news outlets like FOX News and the Washington Examiner speaks to the political nature of this effort.
“According to news reports President Trump himself has acknowledged that the release of the memo was designed to disrupt Robert Mueller’s investigation. It is critical that the American people learn the truth about what happened in 2016, and no political stunt should interfere with the special counsel’s work. What is the president afraid of?”
Trump has already admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt that he fired Comey in an attempt to shutdown the Russia investigation. Although the FBI had opened investigations into both candidates, Comey only admitted in public to the investigation into Hillary Clinton during the final days of the campaign.