In a rare public statement on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned the White House against releasing the classified GOP House Intelligence Committee memo, saying the information in the document is inaccurate and could jeopardize national security.
The FBI said it has “grave concerns” about the Republican-crafted memo alleging corrosive abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department that is expected to be released in the coming days.
“With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau said, according to Bloomberg News.
“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
House Republicans, led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), voted to release the document over the strident objections of committee Democrats, who say it is a cherry-picked set of inaccurate accusations designed to kneecap special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign.
Caught on a hot mic on Tuesday night, Trump promised Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) that he would “100 percent” release the memo.
Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday indicated the White House plans to release the memo soon. “It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it,” Kelly said during an interview on Fox News Radio.
House conservatives who have seen the controversial memo, say it could be used to put an end to the Mueller probe.
Democrats and Senate Republicans have opposed the publication of the memo, as have top Justice Department officials.
Wednesday’s unusual statement from the FBI — one of the most media-averse institutions in Washington — is just the latest sign that the Nunes memo has inflamed tensions between Trump and his own Justice Department.
Trump has previously tweeted that the FBI’s reputation is “in tatters.” He has called for the removal of senior FBI officials he views as biased against him, one of whom— former deputy director Andrew McCabe — stepped down this week.
Democrats have crafted their own document rebutting the Republican memo, but Intelligence Committee Republicans blocked their request to make it public earlier this week.