The FBI issued a rare public statement Wednesday, saying it was given just a day to review the mysterious classified memo before the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release it, and that it had “grave concerns” about the memo’s accuracy.
“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” according to the statement. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omission of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
The secret four-page memo, prepared by Republican committee chair Devin Nunes and alleging surveillance abuses in the Russia probe, has stirred widespread controversy over the past week, adding to the recent concerted Republican effort to discredit the FBI.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by Trump last year, had reportedly already told the White House not to release the memo, because of its supposed inaccuracies and its possible threat to national security, Bloomberg reported. And the Department of Justice also warned Nunes not to release it, calling the move “extraordinarily reckless.”
Still, the committee on Monday voted to release the memo to the public, while voting against releasing the Democrats’ counter memo. That gives the president five days to accept or decline the committee’s decision.
And the Trump administration seems inclined to release it. White House chief of staff John Kelly said in an interview on Fox News Radio Wednesday, “It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and the whole world can see it.”
The president was also overheard Tuesday night on a hot mic telling Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina in crowd after his State of the Union address, he would “100%” approve releasing the memo.
"Mr. President, let's release the memo," Duncan was heard asking Trump.
"Don't worry, 100%," the president replied. "Can you imagine?"
Cover image: U.S. President Donald Trump and FBI Director Christopher Wray participate in a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst