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FBI Clashes with Trump over ‘Grave Concerns’ about Secret GOP Memo

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a rare move, the FBI on Wednesday released a public statement expressing “grave concerns” about the release of a secret, Republican-drafted memo that purports to show the Justice Department and FBI improperly surveilled the Trump campaign during the 2016 election campaign.

The sharply worded statement marks the first public clash between the president and his FBI director, Christopher Wray, as tensions flare over a much-disputed memo that Democrats say is a shameless ploy by Trump allies to undermine the special counsel investigation.

The “F.B.I. was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau said in the statement today. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.

Trump supports the release of the memo because he believes it will undermine confidence in an investigation that ultimately could determine the fate of his presidency.

The Justice Department previously warned it would be “extraordinarily reckless” for the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee to approve the release of the document because it draws from highly sensitive material.

The committee ignored the warnings Monday, voting along party lines to publicly release the four-page document, which claims the Justice Department and FBI – the two agencies overseeing the special counsel probe – abused their authority by extending surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser and suspected Russian agent Carter Page. Trump, who has indicated he wants to publicly release the memo, has three days to sign off on the document’s disclosure.

Some Republicans want to use the document to suggest the special counsel investigation was tainted from the start by an anti-Trump bias.

Democrats dismissed the memo as propaganda in the escalating campaign by the president and his allies to undermine the two agencies tasked with overseeing the ongoing investigation of the president, his campaign and Russia. The probe has produced indictments of four former Trump aides so far, and Mueller plans to soon interview the president to determine whether he obstructed justice by trying to tamper with the investigation.

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have cropped up in the past month to spread support for releasing the document. Many of them have joined a viral hashtag campaign on Twitter – #ReleaseTheMemo – to press for the public disclosure of the memo.


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