FBI, DOJ go on the offensive to convince Trump to oppose GOP memo release

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray advised the White House to oppose the release of a classified GOP memo that he says includes false information.
  • The Justice Department has also implored the Trump administration to reject calls to make the memo public, citing national security concerns.
  • But Trump, under pressure from Republican lawmakers who say the memo proves there is bias at the FBI and the DOJ, seems inclined to release it.


FBI Director Christopher Wray said he is opposed to the public release of a classified memo that Republicans point to as evidence of bias at the FBI and the Justice Department against President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Wray echoed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who on Monday warned White House chief of staff John Kelly that the memo is misleading and contains inaccurate information, according to Bloomberg.

On Sunday, Wray met with Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and co-author of the memo, to review its contents. The next day, Republicans on that committee voted to disclose the memo, giving Trump five days to decide whether to make it public.

RELATED: Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe

27 PHOTOS
Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe
See Gallery
Key Trump officials, advisers of note in the Russia probe

Tom Barrack

The close friend to Donald Trump and CEO of private equity firm Colony Capital recommended that Trump bring in Paul Manafort for his presidential campaign.

R. James Woolsey

Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has cooperated with Mueller's investigation and worked with Michael Flynn and was present at a meeting where they discussed removing the controversial Turkish Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen from US soil. 

(Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The former senior Trump campaign official and White House adviser was present and crucial during the firings of Michael Flynn and James Comey.

The former head of the Trump transition team following the 2016 election has said previously that he believes he was fired due to his opposing the hiring of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

Jeff Sessions

Former U.S. senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama joined Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser in February 2016. Sessions was nominated to be U.S. attorney general by President Trump and was then confirmed by the Senate. Reports then emerged that Sessions had spoken twice with Sergey Kislyak while he was senator -- a fact that he left out of his Senate hearing testimony. Instead, he said in writing that he had not communicated with any Russian officials during the campaign season. Sessions defended himself saying he had spoken with Kislyak specifically in a senate capacity.

Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort signed on as Donald Trump's campaign manager in March 2016. A longtime Republican strategist and beltway operative, Manafort had previously served as an adviser to former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich -- a pro-Russia leader who was violently ousted in 2014. Manafort resigned from his campaign position in August 2016 amid questions over his lobbying history in Ukraine for an administration supportive of Russia. The former campaign manager reportedly remained in Trump's circle during the post-election transition period.

Michael Flynn

Gen. Michael Flynn was named President Trump's national security adviser in November of 2016. Flynn reportedly met and spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, at one point discussing sanctions. Flynn originally told Vice President Pence he did not discuss sanctions -- a point the Department of Justice said made the national security adviser subject to blackmail. Flynn resigned from his position in February.

Donald Trump

2016 election winner Donald Trump is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's handlings.

Sam Clovis

Clovis, a former member of the Trump campaign, arrives on at the U.S. Capitol December 12, 2017 to appear before a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee. Clovis worked with George Papadopoulos, a former Donald Trump campaign foreign policy advisor who struck a plea deal on charges of lying to the FBI.

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Roger Stone

Stone is a longtime Republican political consultant who served as a campaign adviser to Trump who continued to talk with the then-GOP candidate after stepping away from his adviser role. Stone claimed last year that he had knowledge of the planned WikiLeaks release of emails pertaining to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Stone recently admitted to speaking via direct message with "Guccifer 2.0" -- an online entity U.S. officials believe is tied to Russia. Stone says the correspondence was “completely innocuous.”

Carter Page

Page worked for Merrill Lynch as an investment banker out of their Moscow office for three years before joining Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser. During his time with Merrill Lynch, Page advised transactions for two major Russian entities. Page has called Washington "hypocritical" for focusing on corruption and democratization in addressing U.S. relations with Russia. While Page is someone Trump camp has seemingly tried to distance itself from, Page recently said he has made frequent visits to Trump Tower.

J.D. Gordon

Before Gordon joined the Trump campaign as a national security adviser in March 2016, he served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005 through 2009. Like others involved in Trump-Russia allegations, Gordon met with ambassador Kislyak in July at the Republican National Convention, but has since denied any wrongdoing in their conversation. He advocated for and worked to revise the RNC language on and position toward Ukraine relations, so it was more friendly toward Russia's dealings in the country.

Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L)

Caputo waves goodbye to reporters after he testified before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Stephen Miller, White House Senior Advisor for Policy

Jason Miller
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
Eric Trump
Donald Trump Jr.
Ivanka Trump
White House Senior adviser Jared Kushner
Executive assistant to Donald Trump Rhona Graff
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski
US Vice President Mike Pence
Katrina Pierson
K.T. McFarland
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

In response to Rep. Jeff Duncan's plea to release the memo after Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night, Trump said, "Oh, yeah, don't worry, 100%."

On Wednesday morning, Kelly, the president's chief of staff, hinted that Trump would follow through on his promise. 

“[The memo] will be released here pretty quick I think and the whole world can see it,” Kelly said during an interview on Fox News Radio.

The Justice Department is strongly opposed to Trump authorizing the memo's release, citing inaccuracies in the document and the potential for classified national security information to be compromised, according to The Washington Post.

But Trump, who has led the charge in criticizing top law enforcement officials for abusing their surveillance powers, appears to be inclined to overrule the DOJ's objections.

Some Democrats were quick to note the irony in Trump potentially bucking Wray's advice to oppose the memo's release.

"Despite opposition from his own FBI Director," Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said in a tweet Wednesday, "@realDonaldTrump and Congressional Republicans are continuing their shameful attacks on our brave law enforcement officers."

The memo in question is said to contain evidence that certain officials at the FBI and the DOJ abused their surveillance powers to spy on Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser, during the 2016 presidential campaign and after the election. Rosenstein, whom Trump selected as deputy attorney general, is reportedly implicated in the memo as one of the officials who approved the surveillance.

Andrew McCabe, who resigned as deputy FBI director on Monday, is also reportedly implicated in potential abuses. Wray met with McCabe after viewing the classified memo and expressed concerns about a coming report from the DOJ's inspector general that alleges McCabe abused his role in the FBI's investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state and the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

The GOP memo has become a rallying cry among Republicans who believe the FBI and the DOJ are biased against Trump. Democrats say Republicans' attacks against those agencies are a distraction, meant to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

NOW WATCH: The biggest risks facing the world in 2018

See Also:

SEE ALSO: The Russia saga just produced 'one of the darker days of the past 40 years for democracy'

DON'T MISS: Paul Ryan calls for a 'cleanse' of the FBI and wants Trump to release the secret GOP memo

Read Full Story