News & Politics

(UPDATED) Report: White House Will Release FISA Abuse Memo on Thursday

President Donald Trump smiles during State of the Union address, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 in Washington. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

UPDATE (11:28 a.m. Eastern): 

An article on Fox News now states: “The release is likely to come Friday morning, Fox News is told.”

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The White House will likely release the explosive classified memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses on Thursday, Reuters reported late Wednesday.

A Trump administration official told Reuters about President Trump’s decision to give his consent for the four-page report’s release to the public.

In addition to that, President Trump was caught on a hot mic after his State of the Union address Tuesday night telling Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) that he would “100 percent” release the Nunes memo, and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said on Wednesday that he expects the memo will be “released here pretty quick.”

The controversial memo, drafted by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), has been the source of much partisan wrangling between Republicans and Democrats on the committee, and rebukes from the FBI and Justice Department.

Via the Washington Examiner:

Dozens of Republican lawmakers have for weeks sought the public release of the memo and claim it contains evidence of violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The memo, which describes classified material from the FBI and Justice Department, reportedly says incorrect statements from “Trump dossier” author Christopher Steele about Trump associates’ connections to Russia were included in an approved application to put Carter Page, a Trump campaign official, under surveillance.

However, current and former law enforcement officials have said other information was also used to justify the surveillance application. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats have brushed of the information in the memo, calling it “talking points” that are leading a “false narrative.”

The Daily Beast incorrectly reported Tuesday that Nunes refused to say in a closed-door meeting with his House Intel colleagues whether he cooperated with the White House in drafting the memo. But on Wednesday, a transcript of the meeting was released showing that he explicitly denied the charge.

https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/958909829971660800

Democrats on the panel have put together their own memo to refute the Nunes memo, which they want released directly to the public. A vote for its release was rejected on Monday because Republicans want Democrats to go through the same process they went through with the Nunes memo — which was to have it released to Congress first.

The FBI on Wednesday warned that it had “grave concerns” about the classified memo, claiming that it includes “material omissions of fact.”

 Chairman Nunes issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the FBI’s statement Wednesday “slamming” the FISA abuse memo:

“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies. The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses. Regardless, it’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign. Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.”

In a desperate last-ditch effort to squelch the release of the memo and keep Americans in the dark, Schiff late Wednesday accused Nunes of making “material changes to the memo” he sent to the White House.

“After reviewing both versions, it is clear that the Majority made material changes to the version it sent to the White House, which Committee members were never apprised of, never had the opportunity to review, and never approved,” Schiff wrote.

“It is now imperative that the Committee Majority immediately withdraw the document that it sent to the White House,” said Schiff.

“This is deeply troubling, because it means that the Committee Majority transmitted to the White House an altered version of its classified document that is materially different than the version on which the Committee voted,” he added.

The House Intel spokesman said in a statement Wednesday night that the changes were minor and included grammatical fixes and edits “suggested by the FBI and the minority themselves.”

“It appears that there’s a concerted effort on the part of the FBI, members of the intelligence community, and the Department of Justice to try to force the president to delay the release of the memo,” investigative reporter Sara Carter said on Fox News’ Hannity Wednesday night. “And they’re doing this in an effort to buy time — according to sources that I’ve spoken with — so that they can  leak information to try to find a way to either discredit the memo or placate those members of the DOJ that don’t want to see this released,” she added.

“They are terrified about the American people finding out what’s in this memo,” Carter continued. “Because it does expose members of the DOJ, members of the FBI and others — and it names names. It actually shows extensive FISA abuse. This needs to be made public,” she argued. “The American people have a right to see this.”