Four days after the House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release a memo potentially incriminating the FBI for abuse of power, President Trump cleared the way for it to be made public. The memo was put together by Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, but the final product underwent edits and redactions before it was released. Republicans and Democrats differ on the amount of changes made, with Democrats claiming five and Republicans insisting on two.
The FBI put out a rare public statement on Wednesday, cautioning President Trump and other Republicans who wanted the memo to be made public. “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.”
A White House official said of the House Intelligence Committee markup: “I doubt there will be any redactions. Then it is in Congress’ hands after that.” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told CNN Thursday that “the purpose is transparency,” not undermining the Mueller probe.
According to two sources, President Trump believes the contents of the memo will make it easier for him to discredit Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which he has called a “witch hunt.” He reviewed the memo Wednesday and discussed it with Chief of Staff John Kelly before deciding he had no objections to its release, CNN reports.
Many Republicans who have pushed for the memo to be released say their reasoning has nothing to do with the Russia investigation. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said “If Americans’ civil liberties were abused, then that needs to come to light so that doesn’t happen again” during a Republican retreat in Virginia Thursday. However, many critics of President Trump are citing this decision as the latest attempt to undercut and discredit the FBI, as well as Mueller’s investigation.
Read the full text of the memo here.