Trump raises the tone of his confrontation with the FBI
US President Donald Trump speaks at the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, on February 1, 2018
US President Donald Trump on Friday raised the tone of his open confrontation with the FBI, accusing his leadership of having “politicized” the investigations in favor of their Democratic opponents.
In one of his usual morning tweets, Trump said that “the highest officials and investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigation process in favor of the Democrats and against the Republicans.”
“This would have been unthinkable a short time ago,” he added, praising however the work of the agents, who are “fantastic.” Hierarchically, the FBI depends on the Department of Justice.
This strong onslaught of the president against the leadership of the FBI (the US federal police) occurs in the context of a worsening of tensions with unforeseeable consequences in the short term.
Trump is preparing to authorize the publication of a controversial – and apparently explosive – four-page confidential memo drafted by a Republican lawmaker, Devin Nunes, on the role of the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign.
That report is based on the FBI’s eavesdropping on a member of Trump’s election campaign team in 2016, in the general framework of investigations into the alleged interference by Russia in the presidential elections of that year.
– Explosive document –
The director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, delivers a speech in Washington DC on January 15, 2018.
According to Nunes’ vision, the FBI relied on information emanating from the Democratic Party to intercept conversations by Trump’s campaign aide, Carter Page.
The narrative defended by Nunes paints the FBI and the Justice Department as deeply politicized and with a strong anti-Trump sentiment.
Nunes asked the president for authorization to make the document public, but the gesture immediately unleashed a real political storm in the US capital, to the point that the FBI itself publicly requested that the memorandum be kept in reserve.
On Thursday, a source from the White House reported that Trump had received the confidential report and that “probably” this Friday would give authorization to Congress to make that document public, despite the explicit opposition of the FBI.
In an official note, the FBI had assured that the document contains incorrect information that seriously affects its “credibility”.
In addition, a Democratic lawmaker, Adam Schiff, denounced on Wednesday that the document that Nunes sent to the White House is not exactly the same as the House Intelligence Committee discussed until the exhaustion.
– Sensitive context –
The Trump-Russia plot
The president and the FBI are clearly on a collision course in a scenario of acute political polarization, just a few days after Trump called for national unity in his speech to Congress about the state of the Union.
According to the Washington Post, on Thursday the White House even analyzed the possibility that the publication of the controversial memorandum would promote the resignation of the FBI director, Christopher Wray, appointed just last August.
The nerve center of the crisis lies in the independent investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, on the alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign committee and Russian officials during the elections.
Mueller – who was director of the FBI for a decade – conducts that investigation in the most absolute reserve, but indications suggest that the investigations are increasingly closer to the president, who a week ago said he would have no problems in being interviewed.
However, the CNN network said on Thursday that in recent days Trump discussed with relatives about the publication of the Nunes memorandum and argued that this document would be, ultimately, a lethal blow to the investigation on the so-called “Russian connection”.