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White House Chief of Staff John Kelly looks on during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Backing Democrats' Narrative, FBI Has "Grave Concerns" About Memo Trump "100%" Will Release

White House chief of staff said the administration is reviewing the memo, but that it would be released "pretty quick."

Jon Queally

Backing objections by Democrats who say a memo that GOP memebrs of the House Intelligence Commitee voted earlier this week to release is based on misleading and "cherry-picked" information, the FBI on Wednesday said it has "grave concerns" about releasing it even as the White House has signaled it will soon make it public.

After Trump's State of the Union pspeech on Tuesday night, the president was overheard telling a Republican congress that "100%" he would release the controversial memo. On Wednesday, White House chief of staff said the administration is moving reviewing the memo, but that it would be released "pretty quick."

The FBI's pushback on Wednesday is notable, says Axios reporter Shane Savitsky, because its "strong language in the first on-the-record statement about the memo from the FBI, highlighting concerns about perceived political bias and the rushed declassification of material related to the Russia investigation via an arcane House rule."

According to Politico, both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray have expressed concerns directly to the White House:

An official familiar with talks inside the administration said Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein both raised concerns earlier this week to Kelly about releasing the memo in its unredacted form.

The FBI's complaint Wednesday does not suggest the release of the memo would compromise its sources and methods of intelligence gathering. But allies of the bureau and Democrats say it would be difficult for the FBI to set the record straight about any inaccurate claims because any information that could be used in its defense would remain classified.


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