U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak to March for Life participants and pro-life leaders at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Jan. 19, 2018. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. House Intelligence Committee released a disputed classified memo alleging the FBI and Justice Department abused their surveillance powers to favor Democrats during the Russia probe following the authorization of President Donald Trump on Friday.
"The Committee has now determined that the release of the Memorandum would be appropriate," said the committee in a statement on its website, citing "significant public interest in disclosure."
"I think it's a disgrace what's happening in our country... A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that," Trump said in the Oval Office on Friday.
FBI Police vehicles sit parked outside of the J. Edgar Hoover Federal Bureau of Investigation Building in Washington, U.S., Feb. 1, 2018. (Xinhua/REUTERS)
The four-page memo claimed that the probe of the FBI and Justice Department into the so-called Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections represents "a troubling breakdown of legal processes," citing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
According to the memo, a number of then top U.S. law enforcement leaders abused their power by inappropriately obtaining a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump presidential campaign until September 2016.
The acquisition of the warrant was mainly based on information from the so-called Steele dossier which was paid for by Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the memo claimed. Christopher Steele is a veteran British spy.
However, the FBI and Justice Department officials didn't reveal the political origin of the dossier to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request, said the memo, adding that the FBI also had "clear evidence" that Steele was biased against Trump.
Big names identified in the memo include then FBI director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe, then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr, as well as current Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who assigned Special Counsel Robert Mueller last year to take charge of a probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 elections.
The memo was prepared by Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He served on the Trump transition team and is widely seen as a Trump's close ally.
House Republicans claimed the memo's accusations are "worse than Watergate," suggesting that it could prove the undoing of the FBI investigation into Trump's campaign.
"The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans - something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago," Trump tweeted Friday morning.
Donald Trump's tweet on the Russia probe on Feb. 2, 2018.
In comparison, Democratic lawmakers have called the memo misleading and part of an effort to undermine Mueller's ongoing probe.
The memo was meant to "sow conspiracy theories and attack the integrity of federal law enforcement as a means to protect President Trump," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday.
On Wednesday, the FBI, which objects to the memo' disclosure, said in a statement that it had "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."