House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday refused to say whether he agrees with President Donald Trump that the newly released, controversial GOP memo “totally vindicates” the president in the ongoing Russian investigation.
“Over the weekend, the president claimed total vindication. Was he vindicated in any way?" a reporter asked Ryan during a press conference Tuesday. But Ryan wasn't interested in addressing Trump's comment directly, instead pivoting to claim the memo's release was solely based on uncovering ”[Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] abuse and holding our government accountable."
“This is about Congress doing its job in conducting oversight over the executive branch which, in this particular, case has been given great power over us as citizens,” Ryan argued. “We need to make sure the power is used correctly.”
While the top Democrats in the House would like to paint the controversial memo's release last week as a separate issue from the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the president and the White House have argued the opposite.
“This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe,” the president tweeted over the weekend. “But the Russian witch hunt goes on and on.”
“Their was no collusion and there was no obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!” he tweeted.
Democrats continue to be worried the president may use the memo as a reason to take further action against those running the Russian investigation — including special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Last week, top Democrats issued a letter to the president warning him that if he fires Mueller, Rosenstein or anyone working on the investigation because of the memo it would spark a “constitutional crisis of the kind not seen since the Saturday Night Massacre.”
The White House, however, has reiterated the president has no plans to fire Mueller or Rosenstein at this time.