Earlier this week, House Republicans voted to release a classified memo that seeks to discredit the FBI’s surveillance of shady Trump campaign foreign advisor Carter Page (and poke holes in the Russia probe). Since then, President Trump has been teasing the release of those 3 1/2 pages, although he’s got five days to decide whether to do so. The Justice Department has already warned that releasing the memo would be “extraordinarily reckless.”
Now, Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray is sounding the alarm on the memo as well. That he’s issuing a warning is notable in and of itself, but the act confirms what Rep. Adam Schiff (D-MA) said earlier this week. That is, Wray only received the memo from House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) for a brief review, and that was enough to make Wray question the accuracy of the contents, which also lacked context. Here’s Wray’s warning:
“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. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Wray’s publicly taken stance on this memo says a lot about the bureau’s uncomfortable interactions with President Trump since his inauguration. Trump’s anger and frustration over the Russia probe led to his firing of FBI Director James Comey (after he wouldn’t kill the investigation into Michael Flynn). Trump then pressured Wray to fire his deputy, Andrew McCabe, and the president reportedly attempted to discredit several FBI witnesses on Russia. Further, the memo in question is said to attack current Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who approved surveillance of Page according to proper procedure.
One can safely assume that Wray is challenging Trump through this public statement, and the president will undoubtedly not be pleased that his appointee is doing so. Possible presidential theatrics may be forthcoming.