- FBI Director Christopher Wray advised the White House to oppose the release of a classified GOP memo that he says includes false information.
- The Justice Department has also implored the Trump administration to reject calls to make the memo public, citing national security concerns.
- But President Donald Trump, under pressure from Republican lawmakers who say the memo proves there is bias against him at the FBI and the DOJ, seems inclined to release it.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was opposed to the public release of a classified memo that Republicans point to as evidence of bias against President Donald Trump at the FBI and the Justice Department, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
Wray echoed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who on Monday told the White House chief of staff, John Kelly, that the memo was misleading and contained inaccurate information, according to Bloomberg.
On Sunday, Wray met with Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who spearheaded the memo, to review its contents. The next day, Republicans on that committee voted to disclose the memo, giving Trump five days to decide whether to make it public.
In response to Rep. Jeff Duncan’s plea to release the memo after the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Trump said, “Oh, yeah, don’t worry, 100%.”
On Wednesday morning, Kelly suggested Trump would follow through.
The memo “will be released here pretty quick, I think, and the whole world can see it,” Kelly said in an interview on Fox News Radio.
The Justice Department strongly opposes the memo’s release, saying there are inaccuracies in the document and the potential for classified national security information to be compromised, according to The Washington Post.
But Trump, who has led the charge in accusing top law-enforcement officials of abusing their surveillance powers, appears to be inclined to overrule the DOJ’s objections.
Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania was quick to note the irony in Trump’s potentially bucking Wray’s advice to oppose the memo’s release.
“Despite opposition from his own FBI Director,” Casey said in a tweet Wednesday, “@realDonaldTrump and Congressional Republicans are continuing their shameful attacks on our brave law enforcement officers.”
The Republican memo is said to detail how some officials at the FBI and the DOJ abused their surveillance powers to spy on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign, during the 2016 presidential campaign and after the election, The New York Times reported, citing three people familiar with the document. Rosenstein, whom Trump selected as deputy attorney general, is implicated in the memo as an official who approved the surveillance, The Times reported.
The GOP memo has become a rallying cry among Republicans who believe the FBI and the DOJ are biased against Trump. Democrats say Republicans’ attacks against those agencies are a distraction, meant to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.