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

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate eyeing possible weekend finish for T infrastructure bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cuomo defiant as Biden, Democrats urge resignation Democrats barrel toward August voting rights deadline 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 TrumpMajority of Americans in new poll say it would be bad for the country if Trump ran in 2024 ,800 bottle of whiskey given to Pompeo by Japan is missing Liz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party 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 RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE or special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.