House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday that President Donald Trump’s decision to release a controversial memo about potential abuses of surveillance law was a “bouquet” for “his friend Putin.”
Pelosi said the memo, authored by California Rep. Devin Nunes and other House Republicans, was nothing more than a “cynical attempt” to discredit the intelligence community and distract from an ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign.
“Nunes’ partisan spin memo distorts highly classified intelligence in a cynical attempt to discredit our national intelligence and law enforcement agencies and the Special Counsel investigation,” the California Democrat said, referring to the investigation by former FBI Director Robert Mueller into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“Releasing the memo is a desperate attempt to distract the American people from the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal,” she added.
.@realDonaldTrump has surrendered his constitutional responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by releasing Nunes’ unredacted, classified memo. His decision undermines our national security and is a bouquet to his friend Putin. pic.twitter.com/kdUgIrCE6l
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) February 2, 2018
Released Friday, the highly anticipated Nunes memo raised questions about the legitimacy of a secret surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser. The memo alleges that FBI and Justice Department officials failed to tell the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that key evidence in their warrant application came from opposition research funded by Trump’s political opponents.
“One year ago, the intelligence community concluded that the Russians interfered in our election an plan to do so again,” Pelosi said. “Yet, the president refuses to hold Putin accountable, making us all ask: what do the Russians have on Trump, politically, financially, and personally?”
Trump came into office seeking to improve relations with Russia, which had sunk to a post-Cold War low in the run-up to the 2016 election. His overtures to Putin angered Democrats, many of whom believe Moscow worked with the Trump campaign to undermine former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and throw the election to Trump.
Ironically, the Trump administration has been significantly more hawkish on Moscow than its predecessor, recently approving the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine to support its fight against Russian-backed separatists.