Sunday 22 April 2018

FBI says it has 'grave concerns' at 'omission of material fact'

Adam Schiff. Photo: Reuters
Adam Schiff. Photo: Reuters

Chad Day

In a remarkably public clash of wills with the White House, the FBI has declared that it has "grave concerns" about the accuracy of a classified memo on the Russia election investigation that President Donald Trump wants to be released.

The FBI's short and sharp statement, its first on the issue, laid bare a Trump administration conflict that had previously been played out mostly behind closed doors in meetings between top Justice Department and White House officials.

"As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy," the FBI said.

Further complicating the memo's release, the top ­Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California Representative Adam Schiff, has said that his committee's vote to release the memo was now invalid because it had been "secretly altered" by ­Republicans who wrote it.

Mr Trump has five days from the vote to review the document. If he doesn't object, then Congress can release it.

He has already urged its release and it could come sooner. But Mr Schiff has called for Mr Nunes to withdraw the memo from the White House and for the committee to hold a new vote next Monday.

The memo is part of an effort to reveal what Republicans say are surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department in the early stages of the investigation into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

The FBI's stance on the memo escalates the dispute and means that Mr Trump would be openly defying his hand-picked FBI director by continuing to push for its disclosure.

It also suggests a clear willingness by FBI director Christopher Wray to challenge a president who just months ago fired his predecessor, James Comey.

Irish Independent

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