School shooting: Donald Trump says Russia probe distracted FBI from preventing Florida attack

School shooting: Donald Trump says Russia probe distracted FBI from preventing Florida attack

School shooting: Donald Trump says Russia probe distracted FBI from preventing Florida attack

Updated 19 February 2018, 8:45 AEDT

US President Donald Trump uses the Florida school shooting to undermine the Russia probe and blames Barack Obama for alleged foreign interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

United States President Donald Trump has attacked the FBI and investigators probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and said an excessive focus on Russia led federal investigators to miss signs that could have prevented the deadly school shooting in Florida.

Key points:

  • Mr Trump accuses Barack Obama of failing to stop Russian election interference
  • Rival says the Russia probe and the school shooting shouldn't be linked
  • Mr Trump calls Russia probe investigator a leaking "monster"

In a series of tweets over the weekend sent from his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, estate, Mr Trump said congressional investigations and political "hatred" showed Russia had succeeded in sowing "discord, disruption and chaos" within the US.

He accused former president Barack Obama of failing to do enough to stop Russian election interference.

"They are laughing their asses off in Moscow," he tweeted.

The tweets follow the announcement on Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller had charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with a conspiracy to tamper in the 2016 US election.

The indictment said Russians adopted false online personas to push divisive messages and staged political rallies while posing as Americans, among other charges.

In a tweet on Saturday night (local time), Mr Trump criticised the FBI for missing warning signs in the case of Nikolas Cruz, 19, who is charged with killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable," Mr Trump wrote.

"They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign — there is no collusion."

The FBI acknowledged on Friday that it failed to investigate a warning that Mr Cruz possessed a gun and the desire to kill.

Russia and shooting 'two separate issues'

In a Sunday morning tweet, Mr Trump belittled Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee that is investigating Russia's actions, labelling him a leaking "monster".

Several politicians rejected Mr Trump's linking of the FBI's missteps in preventing the shooting to the Russia probe.

"So many folks in the FBI are doing all that they can to keep us safe. The reality of it is, is that they are two separate issues," Republican senator Tim Scott said on CBS's Face the Nation program.

After Mr Mueller's indictment was made public, Mr Trump said it backed up his assertion that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

The indictment did not address whether anyone from the Trump campaign coordinated or worked with Russians. Mr Mueller's broader probe is ongoing.

"It wasn't designed to be able to clear everything on the investigation," Republican senator James Lankford said on the NBC's Meet the Press.

"It was designed to say it was very clear these 13 individuals in this set of companies were trying to interfere in our election," said Mr Lankford, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Mr Schiff, speaking on CNN's State of the Union, said details of the Mueller indictment provided "overwhelming and unequivocal" evidence of the threat from Russian interference.

He said the indictments countered Mr Trump's frequent comments that the Russia investigation is a "hoax".

"This is a president who claims vindication anytime someone sneezes," Mr Schiff said.