The controversy over the potential declassification of a House Intelligence Committee memo, drafted by GOP members on the panel, continues to be all over the place as the White House now appears in lockstep with President Donald Trump, claiming Wednesday that the memo "will be released pretty quickly."
The release would come against the wishes of FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has expressed worry over its release because "it contains inaccurate information and paints a false narrative," according to Bloomberg News. The Department of Justice has also said releasing the memo would be "extraordinarily reckless." In a statement, the FBI said that it was "provided a limited opportunity to review this memo," saying that the bureau "expressed . . . grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."
The memo reportedly accused agents of the FBI and the Justice Department of wrongfully obtaining a FISA warrant on former Trump associate, Carter Page, by using the infamous Trump-Russia dossier as pretext.
The New York Times elaborated:
The Republican memo, which was made available to all members of the House, is said to contend that officials from the two agencies were not forthcoming to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge. Republicans accuse the agencies of not properly disclosing that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign helped finance research that was used to obtain a warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser. The research presented to the judge was assembled by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele.
But an extension of the surveillance was also reportedly approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in April. The House Intelligence Committee voted on Monday, along partisan lines, to release the memo and also refused to release a memo authored by Democratic lawmakers. "The renewal shows that the Justice Department under Mr. Trump saw reason to believe that Mr. Page was acting as a Russian agent," the Times reported.
Wray first saw the memo on Sunday, but "the FBI isn’t included in the inter-agency review process led by the White House aimed at deciding whether — and how much of — the memo can be made public," according to Bloomberg.
Now, with news that Kelly supports the release of the memo and has all but confirmed when it will be released, it shows how the White House was once again not on the same page.
Before the president's State of the Union address on Tuesday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that there were "no current plans to release the House Intelligence Committee’s memo." She added, "The president has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its contents."
But hours later, after his State of the Union speech, Trump promised Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina that he would release the memo.
"Oh yeah, don’t worry, 100 percent," Trump told Duncan after cameras caught him asking the president about the matter. "Can you imagine that? You’d be too angry."
But even some Republicans have expressed angst at the Nunes-driven hysteria over the memo. In a Politico op-ed, conservative writer, Amanda Carpenter, laid out why she believes the Republican Party is gaslighting the nation.
We are, at Donald Trump’s behest, fully engulfed in a narrative explicitly designed to impugn and destroy the credibility of the law enforcement agency tasked with investigating the Trump campaign’s relationship with Russia during the 2016 election.
[. . .]
But really, at this point, it doesn’t really matter what the memo says. Prompted by Trump, his allies on Capitol Hill and in the Trump-affirming media universe, millions of Americans have been led to brainstorm all the various ways faceless bureaucrats embedded in the government could be working to undermine Trump. The entire American political media complex is consumed with speculation about what may be in the memo’s contents. We’ve all been sucked into a story we know probably isn’t true. And, there’s not a thing we can do to stop it. The president has already claimed two scalps with his shameless bullying, rumor mongering and conspiracy peddling: Former FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. And it’s happening all over again. With #Releasethememo, the FBI has already been accused of a multitude of various crimes without ever being given the chance to answer or explain.