Donald Trump is expected to approve the release of the sham Devin Nunes memo on Thursday morning following some redactions requested by the FBI, the Washington Post reports:
The redactions were the result of a review of the memo’s classified contents by White House and intelligence community officials, including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats. The memo, which has created a political firestorm, suggests that the early origins of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election were tainted by political bias.
Trump has been telling friends he believes the memo will discredit the Russia investigation, CNN reports:
In recent phone calls, Trump has told friends he believes the memo would expose bias within the agency’s top ranks and make it easier for him to argue the Russia investigations are prejudiced against him, according to two sources.
As the debate rages about whether the GOP memo is inaccurate and misleading — and whether it’s appropriate to reveal such classified intelligence at all — Trump appears to be more preoccupied with the political calculus. He views the memo as proof the intelligence community was unfairly targeting him and fodder for his ultimate goal of bringing an end to the Russia investigation that he has dubbed a “witch hunt,” sources said.
And Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) compared House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who prepared the hyper-partisan memo, to Joseph McCarthy in an interview on CNN: “The release of this memo is really reminiscent of the darkest days of the McCarthy era, with characterization assassinations.It endangers methods and sources of the intelligence community, and it reflects an effort to distract from the Mueller investigation.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal slams the potential release of the Nunes memo: "The release of this memo is really reminiscent of the darkest days of the McCarthy era" https://t.co/iA9FW3QDb9 https://t.co/0xqsENsKAf
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 1, 2018
The memo, which allegedly claims that the FBI and DOJ abused their power with regard to Trump campaign surveillance was altered by Nunes before he sent it to the White House, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said late on Wednesday.
Schiff said the document already had “profound distortions and inaccuracies” before the changes were made, and called Nunes’ actions “deeply troubling” because the White House is now reviewing a document that was not shared with nor voted on by the entire House Intelligence Committee.
Schiff called on Republicans to withdraw the document it sent to the White House and called for a new vote on the memo and on another memo, written up by the Democrats on the committee. Majority Republicans have denied Democrats the opportunity to release a memo in response to the Nunes memo.
Tweeted Schiff: “Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release.”
BREAKING: Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release. pic.twitter.com/llhQK9L7l6
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 1, 2018
Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, confirmed that the memo had been edited, but he told NBC News that the changes included “grammatical fixes and two edits requested by the FBI and by the Minority themselves,” referring to committee Democrats.
“The vote to release the memo was absolutely procedurally sound, and in accordance with House and Committee rules,” Langer said. “To suggest otherwise is a bizarre distraction from the abuses detailed in the memo, which the public will hopefully soon be able to read for themselves.”
But a senior Democratic source on the Intelligence Committee disputed that account, telling NBC News that the changes weren’t “cosmetic.”
“Instead, they try to water down some of the majority’s assertions,” the source said.
In a rare public statement yesterday, the FBI disavowed the memo.
Said the FBI in its statement: “With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray has reportedly urged the White House not to release the memo. At his State of the Union address last night, Donald Trump was overheard telling a Republican lawmaker that he’s “100 percent” going to release the memo.