Federal Bureau of Investigation warns against release of House Republican memo

Marsha Scott
February 2, 2018

Republicans on the House intelligence committee have voted to release a classified memo that purports to show improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russian Federation investigation.

The FBI, in a a rare and sharply-worded statement, said there are concerns "about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy".

The statements came hours after Trump was overheard telling a Republican lawmaker that he was "100 percent" in favor of releasing the document.

People who have seen the Nunes memo say that it documents Democrat crimes at top levels of the FBI and shows serious lapses of professional investigation practices by the bureau.

The FBI issued a statement saying that it has "grave concerns" about the White House's plans to allow publication of the memo and warning that it contains "material omissions of fact" that could compromise its "accuracy", Efe reported. So I've had access to all of the intelligence, which Mr. Nunes could have access to, but has not. Fox News host Sean Hannity, who apparently has not seen the memo, says it "makes Watergate look like stealing a Snickers bar from a drug store".

It alleges in part that to obtain the warrant they submitted as evidence the contentious and unproven "Russia dossier" - compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and financed in part by Democrat Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The FBI and Justice Department have scrambled over the past week to prevent the release of the memo, which committee chairman Devin Nunes and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy put together along with Republican committee staffers.

Schiff said in the meeting that Republicans had previously voted down a motion to make that underlying information available to all members of the committee.

Monday's vote was the first time the declassification process has been used by the committee.

Such a release would go against the strong objections of Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, both of whom visited the White House earlier this week to urge against publication on the grounds it would put national security at risk.

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The sad truth is the memo and the surrounding furore is about political expediency and an effort to undercut what many fear will be a damning assessment of the president and his team by special investigator Robert Mueller, who is formally looking into Russian meddling in the outcome of America's elections.

Democratic suspicions that Nunes has coordinated with the White House stem from previous year, when he took a secret trip to the White House to review intelligence gathered by two White House staffers about the "unmasking" of Trump's team in foreign intelligence collected during the Obama administration.

If the president does not object to releasing the memo within five days of the committee's vote, it will become public.

In the hours before the Monday vote, Rosenstein and Wray warned Kelly that releasing the memo could set a risky precedent, according to a person familiar with the conversation. The committee chairman is Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is a close Trump ally.

The committee's top Democrat, Adam Schiff, said in a Washington Post op-ed that the memo also paves the way for the possible firing of Mueller or the man overseeing the probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

White House chief of staff John Kelly also indicated that the memo's release was imminent.

White House officials have downplayed the Justice Department's role in the decision whether to release the memo.

The White House is reviewing the memo.

He said that releasing it could set a "bad precedent", adding, "The FBI is in a bind here, no matter what they do".

FBI Director Christopher Wray reviewed the memo on Sunday. He said making the document public could set a risky precedent, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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