US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) rushed to say the latest developments surrounding the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) “serve no American interests – no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s.” The life-long Russophobe even issued a special statement on the day of the memo's release, expressing his discontent with the situation.
McCain never alluded to the contents of the document itself in his statement, referring to it as “the latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice” instead. He then proceeded with his traditional demonization of Russia by once again accusing Moscow of a range of offenses – from hacking to spreading disinformation – all presented as self-sufficient truths, and without proof.
He said further that the publication of the memo on alleged abuses of power by American state agencies “undermines” the rule of law in the US. And of course, by releasing it, US authorities “are doing Putin’s job for him.”
McCain was not alone in his crusade against the GOP document and its perceived threat to national security. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) slammed Republicans and President Donald Trump over what House Democrat leaders called a “spin memo.”
“President Trump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by releasing highly classified and distorted intelligence,” Pelosi said, as cited by the Hill. She also added that, “by not protecting intelligence sources and methods, he just sent his friend Putin a bouquet.”
Democrat representatives in Congress lined up to back Pelosi. “The President’s decision to publicly release a misleading memo attacking DOJ & FBI is a transparent attempt to discredit these institutions and undermine Mueller’s probe,” said Adam Schiff (D-California), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, as he referred to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and the alleged Russian interference in the election.
Democrats were not done tossing around the Russian president's name. Ted Deutch condemned the release as a “Putin-esque tactic” and a “dangerous and partisan stunt.”
Former FBI chief, James Comey, who was fired by Trump, predictably joined the memo bashers. He called it a “dishonest and misleading” document that “inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen.”
The GOP memo chronicles how the FBI and the DOJ obtained a warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, entirely on the basis of the so-called “Steele dossier” paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the Democratic National Committee.
The four-page memo was commissioned by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-California) in mid-January. Trump authorized its release on Friday.