WEST PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump is back in South Florida spending the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort and far away from the controversy gripping Washington over the FISA memo.
The President arrived at Palm Beach International Airport at 7 p.m. along with the First Lady Melania.
As the Presidential motorcade made its way to Mar-a-Lago, several dozen supporters gathered along Southern Boulevard to cheer the President’s arrival.
“Yay, Trump,” one woman shouted.
While his supporters cheered his arrival, some took issue with the release of the memo saying it doesn’t live up to the Republican-led hype.
“I think it is what it is and we’ll see what happens with it,” said Pat Miller. “I think it’s too early to really say what’s happening with it.”
“I feel that it’s very embarrassing,” said Elaine Fandino, adding that she believes the memo only points the blame at one or two FBI officials, not the agency as a whole.
The President did not answer reporters who shouted questions about the FISA memo as he left the White House but earlier he said he believed the actions outlined in the memo were a disgrace to the country.
“A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that,” said President Trump.
The memo, released by the House GOP, focuses on what it calls Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the FBI. It alleges those agencies obtained multiple warrants to track former Trump campaign official Carter Page based on the dossier complied by the former British spy who was paid by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign.
“To my knowledge this is the first time in American history that the FBI and the Justice Department have been weaponized by the actions of a political party,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, (R) Florida.
Democrats pushed back saying the memo doesn’t tell the full story. They have a counter memo that they want to release.
“There’s no evidence of a corrupt effort to obtain warrants against people in the Trump campaign,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Democrats believe the memo is a political effort by Republicans to damage the credibility of the FBI and the Russia investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“It’s a tremendous disservice to the American people who are going to be misled by this, by this selective use of classified information,” Schiff said.
For instance, CBS News is reporting that Page had been on the radar of US intelligence agencies for his Russia ties for several years before the actions detailed in the memo.
Guy Lewis, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida said FBI employees rightly feel undermined.
“They are under attack right now,” Lewis said.
Lewis provided his analysis to CBS4 News as the President arrived in West Palm Beach.
“Trump and his team of lawyers are attacking the case, as any defense lawyer would,” Lewis said. “They would tear down the prosecution’s case. They’re tearing down the information, the investigation as Bob Mueller and his team are developing that information,” explained Lewis.
Former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis talks to #CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez and Rudabeh Shahbazi about Republican lawmakers releasing a memo they wrote alleging surveillance abuses at the FBI.
Senior FBI leaders met with the White House over the past few days to argue against releasing the memo expressing concerns about its accuracy.
Their efforts failed pitting the intelligence community at odds with the President.
Friday, FBI Director Christopher Wray wrote to FBI employees saying, “I stand fully committed to our mission. I stand by our shared determination to do our work independently and by the book. I stand with you.”