FBI has ‘grave concerns’ over explosive Russia case memo
The four-page memo, written by Republican lawmaker Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, remains secret but the White House has hinted it could permit its release, despite concerns it could divulge top-secret information.
Media reports, citing lawmakers who have seen the document, say it suggests the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation abused their power in opening surveillance of a member of President Donald Trump’s election campaign in late 2016 involving his contacts with Russians.
It alleges in part that to obtain the warrant they submitted as evidence the contentious and unproven “Russia dossier” — compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele and financed in part by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
But the FBI said the memo is hardly a complete picture of what happened.
“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 FBI said.
“As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Nunes’ committee voted on Monday to release the memo, distilled from a much larger volume of documents used by the FBI to get a so-called FISA national security warrant to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page, who was suspected of espionage.
Republicans say it provides evidence that the Justice Department actively sought to undermine Trump.
But Democrats say the memo is a politically-motivated stunt to taint the broader investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians, an investigation that is edging closer to the president himself.
Nunes has sought the White House’s approval to release the memo because it refers to or contains classified information.
The president’s chief of staff John Kelly told Fox radio early Wednesday that White House national security lawyers were examining the memo.
“They’re slicing and dicing it, looking at it so that we know what it means and what it understands,” he said.
“It’ll be released here pretty quick I think and the whole world can see it.”
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