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U.S. President Donald Trump has been trying desperately over a period of eight months to discredit the Mueller investigation into his campaign's possible involvement in Russian collusion in the 2016 election.

Mr. Trump has repeated countless times that "there is no collusion." It has become clear, however, that what he really fears is that he will be ensnared in charges of obstruction of justice, his firing of FBI director James Comey last year being a principal exhibit.

But now Mr. Trump, whose audacity knows no bounds, is trying to turn the tables on the story. With the release of the classified memo from the House Intelligence Committee, he is pointing to the FBI and the Department of Justice as the ones who have obstructed justice. They politicized, he alleges, their investigation.

Throughout his career, he's employed the tactic of tearing down his opponents no matter who they are. He has done so again now, setting off a conflict with the justice and intelligence community not seen since the days of Richard Nixon.

For months, he has been trying to cast doubt on the inquiry of Robert Mueller, whose integrity is held in high esteem by both Democrats and Republicans. He has made some ground, identifying members of the Mueller team with ties to the Democrats. Mr. Mueller subsequently unloaded them.

But with the release of a classified memo alleging bias by the FBI in investigating his campaign, Mr. Trump has likely landed his hardest punch. The memo certainly doesn't make a foolproof case. But it seeds enough doubt to taint the ongoing investigation, certainly among Republican voters.

In getting a surveillance warrant to target Trump ex-foreign policy adviser Carter Page, the report, produced by a Republican congressional committee, alleges the FBI presented evidence from a dossier that had been financed in large part by the Democratic National Committee.

The dossier, prepared by former British spy Christopher Steele, was only one piece of evidence used by the agency to obtain the warrant. There is a lack of clarity on what transpired – even in the GOP-written memo. A sentence in it says the investigation was opened as the result of information the bureau had received about another person connected to the Trump campaign. That individual is George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy consultant who last fall pleaded guilty to lying to Mueller investigators and is now reported to be a co-operating witness.

The last paragraph of the released memo says, "The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok."

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump will now see a clearer path to undermine the investigation. Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein, who has supervisory capacity over it, is on the firing line. Asked if he had confidence in him, Mr. Trump replied menacingly, "You figure it out."

FBI director Christopher Wray, who Mr. Trump has criticized for having Democratic Party ties, and who in a defiant act went public this week with a warning to the President not to allow the release of the committee report, could also be unloaded. If they aren't dismissed, it's well possible that rather than serve under a President who has no confidence in them, they may resign themselves.

Alleging political bias is the tactic Mr. Trump has employed time and time again to defend himself. In his administration, everything is put under the political microscope. The media have been a prime target. He attacks authors of reports that do not reflect favourably on him as Democratic sympathizers putting out fake news.

He issued a tweet Friday saying, "The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favour of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago."

On what is unthinkable it may have been more credible for him to say that a President going public against his law-enforcement agencies fits such a description. Not, however, for this President.

But his tactic of discrediting the Russia probe may well work. He will be condemned widely for allowing the report to be made public. But if his neck is on the line in the Mueller inquiry – and his obsession with it would seem to indicate that it is – the turning-the-tables strategy may well help him.

Many more Americans will be doubting the legitimacy of the Mueller inquiry today than yesterday.

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