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President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump lashed out at the leadership of the FBI and Justice Department on Friday. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Eating His Own: Ahead of Memo Release, Trump Attacks Top Officials at FBI and Justice Department

With expected release of a "cherry-picked" memo designed to discredit Mueller probe, president lashes out at his own law enforcement agencies

Jessica Corbett

Ahead of the expected release of a "cherry-picked" memo clearly designed to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe—and which critics who have seen the document have called inaccurate and misleading—President Donald Trump lashed out at his own top law enforcement officials on Friday morning.

Trump accused top law enforcement leaders of favoring Democrats, despite the fact that they are Republicans—some of whom the president appointed himself. James Comey, the former FBI director who was fired by Trump, and Mueller, who was selected by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to lead the investigation, are both Republicans. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI director Christopher Wray are both Republicans and Trump appointees.

Wray, however, has reportedly opposed releasing the memo "because it contains inaccurate information and paints a false narrative," and concerns are mounting that the "high cost" of the release will include the director's resignation.

Noting that the release will put Trump "publicly crossways with both the intelligence community and the FBI—not a place you want to be," Axios reports on concerns among White House aides that there will be both political and policy costs, especially if the memo is "a dud," as some of those who have seen it have promised.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee—which earlier this week voted along party lines to release the memo—"said at an Axios event that the memo will be a letdown for the right—containing nothing that obviously invalidates the investigation or would cause anyone to get fired."

Speculation over potential fallout from the White House's final decision and the president's public spat with his own agency leaders comes as top congressional Democrats are calling for the ouster of House Intelligence chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who served on Trump's transition team and whose staff compiled the memo. Critics have condemned Nunes and other Republican committee members for supporting the memo release while blocking a report from Schiff that explains how it was "cherry-picked" from intelligence materials.


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