President Donald 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 may not 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 Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election were tainted by political bias.
FBI Director Christopher 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, administration officials said, though it remains under review. “The president is inclined to approve release of memo today or tomorrow,” a senior administration official said Thursday.
Once Trump approves its release, 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.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima, Karoun Demirjian