Trump may release controversial ‘memo’ putting FBI director in piquant situation
Washington DC: Amidst speculation of the resignation of the FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, if a a secret memo written by Republican congressional aides is made public, President Trump is going ahead to clear the release of the controversial memo.
Various US media reported that Trump will go ahead with the release quoting close White House aides of the president. Though the release may put him at confrontation path with his top national security officials, media report says that it (the release) could give him a new tool to undermine public confidence in the Russia investigation.
The New York Times quoting a senior senior administration official reported that Trump, who had a brief window to block the memo’s disclosure on national security grounds, was expected to tell Congress on Friday that he had no objections and would probably not request that any of its substance be redacted.
“The memo is said to accuse federal law enforcement officials of abusing their authorities in seeking court permission to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser. White House aides worked on Thursday to accommodate concerns raised by Mr. Wray as well as Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence. It was unclear what changes, if any, were being made before the document was transmitted back to the House. White House officials cautioned that the situation remained fluid, the The New York Times report said.
Once Trump’s decision is formally conveyed to Congress, the House Intelligence Committee, whose leaders have pushed for its release, can make the document public.
Narrating the sequence of events Washington Post reported that President Trump was only vaguely aware of a controversial, classified memo about the FBI’s Russia investigation when two House conservatives brought it to his attention in a Jan. 18 phone call.
“The conversation piqued Trump’s interest. Over the next two weeks, according to interviews with eight senior administration officials and other advisers to the president, he tuned in to cable television segments about the memo. He talked to friends and advisers about it. And, before he had even read it, Trump became absolutely convinced of one thing: The memo needed to come out,” said the Washington Post report.
The classified memo was prepared by aides to Rep. Devin Nunes , chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
A Los Angeles Times report says that the memo reportedly claims that the decision to start surveillance of Carter Page, then a Trump campaign advisor with business interests in Russia, was based in part on information provided by Christopher Steele, a former British spy who was working for a U.S. firm collecting opposition research on Trump.