In a rare public statement, the FBI on Wednesday expressed “grave concerns” about the accuracy of a congressional Republican memo that purports to show anti-Trump prejudice among senior FBI and Justice Department officials.
It’s extremely unlikely that the highly critical comment would be sent out without the approval of top Trump appointees at the FBI and DOJ. And it comes as the White House appears poised to defy the intelligence community’s wishes and approve the memo’s release.
As the FBI put it, the four-page document compiled by staffers for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) contains “material omissions of fact.”
“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,” a statement from the bureau read. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
This remarkable public disavowal bolsters days of reporting on top DOJ and FBI officials’ efforts to dissuade the White House from allowing the memo to be made public. The House Intelligence Committee voted on partisan lines on Monday to release it.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee, reportedly informed the White House that he opposed the memo’s release because it “contains inaccurate information and paints a false narrative,” according to Bloomberg.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, also a Trump appointee, has reportedly separately warned the White House that the memo does not accurately describe how it carries out investigations.
As of Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump and his advisers’ seemed intent on overriding these words of caution and moving forward with the memo’s release.
Doing so would represent a bold new foray in Trump’s war on his own Justice Department. The President has previously expressed his own concerns about a “deep state” cabal of Democratic loyalists at the DOJ and FBI bent on undermining his administration. But with the memo controversy, Trump is actively going against the advice intelligence officials he handpicked to lead those agencies.
Read the full statement from the FBI below.
The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the FISA Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI. We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process.
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.