Shortly before the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the anti-FBI memo crafted by staff for Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray met with White House chief of staff John Kelly to make on final appeal for blocking the release of the memo, according to Tuesday reports in the New York Times and Washington Post.
Rosenstein and Wray tried to persuade Kelly to convince Nunes to delay the committee’s vote on releasing the memo, but were unsuccessful, a current and former official told the New York Times.
In the meeting with Kelly, Rosenstein did most of the talking and warned Kelly that releasing the memo to the public could jeopardize classified information, according to the Washington Post. Rosenstein also told Kelly that the Nunes memo did not provide an accurate description of the Justice Department’s investigative practices, per the Post. Kelly told Rosenstein and Wray that President Donald Trump is inclined to release the memo but that the White House would conduct a review of the document, the Post reported.
The meeting highlights the divide between Trump and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill and the officials he appointed to lead the Justice Department and FBI over the highly controversial memo.
Justice Department officials have repeatedly warned against releasing the memo, but Republicans have charged ahead with plans to make their allegations public.
The memo reportedly purports to show that the Justice Department and FBI abused the process used to conduct surveillance on a Trump campaign aide. The memo reportedly alleges that the FBI failed to reveal in its application for surveillance to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court that one of its sources, dossier author Christopher Steele, was being paid by Democrats.
Democrats have slammed the memo as a mere vehicle for Republican attempts to undermine the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign.
The House Intelligence Committee voted to released the memo on Monday night, and Trump now has five days to review the memo and decide whether he agrees that it should be made public.