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Trump claims FBI and justice chiefs have ‘politicised’ Russia probe

The US president believes the inquiry into alleged collusion is a conspiracy to discredit his successful 2016 election campaign.

US president Donald Trump has accused the FBI and the justice department of bias over the Russian election meddling probe, claiming they had politicised “the sacred investigative process” in favour of Democrats and against Republicans.

White House officials said Mr Trump intends to approve the publication of a classified memo on the investigation written by Republicans who accuse the FBI of abusive surveillance tactics during the early stages of its probe.

This sets up a clash with the man Mr Trump picked to lead the FBI, Christopher Wray, after sacking James Comey as agency director.

Mr Trump tweeted amid reports that the FBI and department of justice (DOJ) had objected strenuously to the memo’s release. The FBI said the document is misleading and could jeopardise national security.

The president tweeted: “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. Rank & File are great people!”

A White House official said US congress would probably be informed of Mr Trump’s decision on the memo on Friday, adding that the president was “OK” with its release.

The House intelligence panel voted along party lines on Monday to put the memo out, giving Mr Trump five days to reject the release under committee rules. The president also has the power to declassify the document himself and either release it or hand it to US congress for dissemination.

Mr Trump said he wanted the memo released even after the FBI declared it had “grave concerns” about its accuracy. The document was written as part of an effort to reveal what Republicans said were surveillance abuses by the FBI and the DOJ early on in Russia investigation, before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to take it over.

Senior FBI officials have also made direct appeals to the White House, warning the release could set a dangerous precedent.

Democrats call the memo an attempt by Republicans to distract attention from the investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

Mr Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign improperly co-ordinated with Russia and whether Mr Trump sought to obstruct the inquiry by, among other actions, firing ex-director James Comey. Republicans have intensified their pressure on the DOJ as Mr Mueller’s probe moves closer to the president’s inner circle.

Mr Trump has told advisers he believes the document will validate his concerns that the FBI and DOJ conspired against him.

Mr Comey wrote on Twitter: “All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would. But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up. Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy.”

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