FBI has 'grave concerns' about expected release of classified Nunes memo

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) shakes hands with Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray during his installation ceremony at FBI headquaters September 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. 
↓ Advertisement ↓

The FBI expressed "grave concerns" Wednesday about the expected release of a classified memo from the House Intelligence Committee that alleges the Justice Department and FBI abused their surveillance authority.

"The FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it," the bureau said in a statement as the White House considered releasing the document. "As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy."

The committee's Republican leadership, which drafted the four-page memo, voted to release it Monday, pending a White House review. 

The memo was written by Republican staff at the direction of committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and is apparently a summary of some of the intelligence collected by the committee as part of its ongoing probe of the Trump campaign's contacts with Russian officials. Democrats on the committee have complained that the memo cherry-picks information designed to discredit the federal investigation into Russia's election interference and possible collusion with Trump associates. 

↓ Advertisement ↓

Following his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Trump assured a Republican lawmaker that he was "100 percent" in favor of making public the memo's contents, over the objections of the FBI and DOJ. 

On the House floor following the address, Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., asked Trump to "release the memo." In a brief conversation caught on camera, Trump could be overheard replying: "Oh yeah, don't worry, 100 percent." Trump continued speaking after that, but his words were not audible.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein voiced their objections Monday to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.