In a sign of the unusual public tension between the FBI and the president, the bureau issued a statement Wednesday after Director Christopher Wray tried privately to persuade the White House to keep the memo under wraps. The document is a summary of classified information written by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.
The FBI publicly urged President Trump not to release a classified memo, escalating a dispute over Republican allegations of improper surveillance in the probe examining whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, the Wall Street Journal reports. In a sign of the unusual public tension between the bureau and the president, the FBI issued a statement Wednesday after Director Christopher Wray tried privately to persuade the White House to keep the memo under wraps. The document is a summary of classified information written by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. “The FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau’s statement said. “We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Rarely has a president clashed as repeatedly and as publicly with federal intelligence agencies as has Trump. Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn on Monday. Wray and Rosenstein expressed their opposition to the release of the memo. Kelly told the men that the president was inclined to release the memo, but assured them it first would be vetted by the National Security Council and White House attorneys. After Trump told a Republican lawmaker that he was “100 percent” certain he would release the document, White House officials insisted the president hadn’t yet read the document. The memo was written under the direction of Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Ca.), House Intelligence Committee chairman and a Trump ally. It outlines allegations of improper surveillance against an Trump associate during the 2016 campaign.