President Trump is expected to approve the release of a controversial congressional memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI, after the White House agreed to some redactions at the bureau’s request, but the document is unlikely to be made public before Friday, according to senior administration officials.
The redactions were the result of a review of the memo’s classified contents by White House and intelligence community officials. The memo, which has created a political firestorm, suggests that the early origins of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election were tainted by political bias.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray had opposed its release, citing “grave concerns” about key factual omissions and accuracy. The White House was not convinced that release would compromise national security but agreed to redactions to protect sensitive law enforcement methods, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Trump has read the memo, a White House official said, though it’s unclear whether he has approved its release. Once he does, the White House will transmit the memo back to the House Intelligence Committee, which has the authority to release it to the public.
Staff for the committee’s GOP majority wrote the memo. The panel’s Democrats have accused the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), of creating a false narrative to undermine Mueller’s probe.
The president has told advisers that he believes the memo is “gaining traction” and could help him convince the public that the probe is a witch hunt.
We'll see what the morrow brings, but I think it's going to be a busy news weekend. At the very least, we may get the resignation of another FBI Director.
Top White House aides are worried FBI Director Christopher Wray could quit if the highly controversial Republican memo alleging the FBI abused its surveillance tools is released, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN.
Wray has made clear he is frustrated that President Donald Trump picked him to lead the FBI after he fired FBI Director James Comey in May, yet his advice on the Nunes memo is being disregarded and cast as part of the purported partisan leadership of the FBI, according to a senior law enforcement official.
Wray's stance is "raising hell," one source familiar with the matter said.
Wray has not directly threatened to resign after clashing with Trump over the possible release of the memo, the source added, because that is not his style of dealing with conflict.
At least one Democrat is promising counter-attacks as well.
If this memo comes out, I have a long list of less sensitive, but still classified, information that the American people deserve to see. #secretlaw— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) January 31, 2018
Gonna be a rough weekend I expect.