>> The Republicans release of a contentious memo alleging anti-Trump bias at the FBI escalates a fierce battle over the Russia probe.>> But I think it's a disgrace.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington where after weeks of buildup, the four page memo that everybody is talking about is finally out.
Now the question is, what will President Trump do about it? The Republican memo accuses the FBI of relying on a biased source as it probes the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Trump and the GOP have been casting doubt on the investigation for months. Now they're casting doubt on the investigators themselves.
The memo was prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Congressman Devin Nunes. It was released with the full support of President Trump, over the objections of the FBI and intelligence services. It says the FBI relied on the work of a former British spy named Christopher Steele to win court approval to track a former Trump campaign advisor named Carter Page.
The memo says the FBI didn't tell the court that Steele's work was partly funded by Democrats. Or that he had told a Justice Department official that he was, quote, desperate that Trump not get elected. Trump on Friday said leaders of the Justice Department and the FBI had politicized the investigative process, and suggested he may fire the official overseeing the investigation, Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.
>> A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that.>> Democrats warned that any attempt to fire Rosentstein could lead to a constitutional crisis. They called the memo a, quote, shameful effort to discredited the FBI and undermining the investigation. At least one Republican also called it a bad idea.
Senator John McCain said the release would only serve the interest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But analysts say that the memo does not show that Christopher Steele, whatever his motivation, provided inaccurate information. And it showed that the FBI was actually getting results. After all, a judge approved the FBI's request to keep its surveillance going of Carter Page three separate times.
And it's not clear how central Page is to the whole investigation anyhow. The memo reveals that the FBI had been looking into this issue for months before it zeroed in on him. Keep in mind that Trump's former national security advisor has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
His former campaign manager has been charged with money laundering. And Trump's own son has admitted that he sought dirt on Democrats from Russian sources. This memo may increase the tensions around the Russia investigation, but it's not clear whether it'll have any bearing on the investigation itself.