Nunes memo: Trump caught on hot mic saying he would '100%' release the controversial document

The memo alleges wrongdoing by the FBI in its investigation of the Trump campaign

Emily Shugerman
New York
Wednesday 31 January 2018 17:21
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Donald Trump overheard saying he will '100 per cent' release FBI memo

Donald Trump has been overheard saying he would “100 per cent” release a classified memo about the FBI that his press secretary said the President has never read.

Mr Trump’s conversation with Representative Jeff Duncan was picked up by live cameras on the House floor after his State of the Union address. The Republican asked Mr Trump in passing to “release the memo” – a reference to a secretive report drafted by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes that alleges wrongdoing by the FBI in its investigation of the Trump campaign.

"Don't worry, 100%" Mr Trump told Mr Duncan. "Can you imagine?"

The President waved his hand dismissively as he made the comment, and it was unclear whether he meant it to he taken seriously. But White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appeared to confirm the comments the next morning.

"It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it," Mr Kelly told Fox News Radio.

Mr Kelly said he has seen the memo personally, and that White House lawyers were reviewing it.

Hours before the State of the Union address, however, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement saying there were "no current plans" to release the memo.

"The President has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its contents," she said.

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the classified memo on Monday, giving Mr Trump five days to approve the decision.

The FBI warned against releasing the memo in a rare public statement issued on Wednesday, saying that its agents have "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy".

"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 bureau said.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray has personally told the White House not to release the memo, according to Bloomberg, arguing that it contains inaccurate information and paints a misleading picture of the FBI.

Mr Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod J Rosenstein counselled against releasing the memo before the Intelligence Committee vote earlier this week, according to the Washington Post. The two men reportedly said it could jeopardise classified information and set a dangerous precedent.

Mr Rosenstein is overseeing the Justice Department investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia, lead by special counsel Robert Mueller. Democrats who have read the memo say it seeks to de-legitimize this investigation by casting doubt on the validity of warrants used to surveil the Trump campaign.

Some Republicans, however, claim the memo reveals widespread abuses by the FBI that would be “shocking” to most Americans.

"The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency,” Republican Representative Matt Gaetz told reporters this week. “There is no higher priority than the release of this information to preserve our democracy."

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