Donald Trump reportedly “erupted” in anger while on Air Force One en route to the Davos conference after being told that it would be “reckless” to release a controversial memo seen as a partisan attack on the probe investigating potential Russian collusion.
The memo was reportedly written by Republican staffers at the leadership of Devin Nunes, a Republican Congressman who had previously recused himself from the House investigation into allegations of collusion. According to a report from the New York Times, the memo claims that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein extended surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page because there was evidence to suggest that Page was acting on behalf of the Russian government.
The memo contended that the FBI and Justice Department based this evidence in part on a dossier compiled by British spy Christopher Steele, but did not disclose this to an intelligence court judge. The report suggested that Republicans were planning to use the memo as a way to undercut the Russia investigation by discrediting the FBI.
There had been calls on Donald Trump to release the classified memo, but Bloomberg noted that Trump was strongly warned against it. Associate Attorney General Stephen Boyd reportedly told Trump that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the classified memo, which Trump did not take well.
As the report noted, Donald Trump “erupted in anger” at learning he could not release the memo.
“For Trump, the letter was yet another example of the Justice Department undermining him and stymieing Republican efforts to expose what the president sees as the politically motivated agenda behind Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe,” the report claimed.
The increased efforts to discredit the FBI and Russia investigation comes as Special Counsel Robert Mueller appeared to be zeroing in on Donald Trump and questions of whether he committed obstruction of justice in firing former FBI Director James Comey and taking efforts to discredit those close to Comey. A previous report from the New York Times claimed that Trump had tried to fire Mueller last June but did not go through with it after White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to resign rather than following through with Trump’s directive.
Donald Trump has maintained that his campaign did not collude with Russia, and last week said during a press conference that anytime he tries to “fight back” it is described as obstruction of justice.