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Durbin: 'Of course' memo does not vindicate Trump in Russia probe

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight GOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia MORE (D-Ill.) on Sunday pushed back against Republican claims that a recently declassified memo shows bias within the Justice Department, saying “of course it does not” vindicate President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Guardian slams Trump over comments about assault on reporter Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate Watchdog org: Tillerson used million in taxpayer funds to fly throughout US MORE in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

“The fact that the Republicans in the House refuse to allow a minority report, the Democratic response to their memo, is an indication that they’re just bound and determined to continue to find ways to absolve this president from any responsibility,” Durbin said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The four-page memo, released Friday, accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the "Steele dossier" — which originated as an opposition research document during the 2016 campaign — to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump campaign adviser. 

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Republicans and Trump have pointed to the memo as proof the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is biased against the president. Trump tweeted Saturday morning that the document “totally vindicates” him. 

Democrats and some Republicans, however, have blasted the memo as a collection of cherry-picked claims that seek to undermine the FBI.

Durbin on Sunday said he worried the memo could be used as a pretext for Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRosenstein to appear for House interview next week Former FBI lawyer speaks with House lawmakers on Rosenstein, 2016 Meadows calls on Rosenstein to resign 'immediately' MORE or special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE. He accused House Republicans of pushing for the memo’s release in an effort to end the Russia investigation, despite concerns from the FBI and Justice Department.

“If House Republicans believe they’ve set the stage for the president to end this investigation, they’re basically saying that one man is above the law,” Durbin said.

“No one, including the president, is above the law,” he added.