Now that the House Intelligence Committee has voted to release the classified memo composed by Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), word has leaked out from Politico that Nunes was pressured by fellow Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to cave in and show the memo to FBI Director Christopher Wray before voting to release it publicly.
Wray was the person Trump picked to head the FBI after he fired James Comey over his frustration with the investigation of collusion between his campaign and Russia, so despite the Republicans’ attacks on the FBI as biased investigators, he was not exactly a politically neutral figure in this investigation. Nevertheless, Wray made the trek to Capitol Hill on a Sunday to review the memo with Nunes and Gowdy.
Both the FBI and the Justice Department have opposed the public release of the memo without them having the chance to review it for security concerns since it reportedly contains top secret information. Rep. Nunes apparently told Wray that he could “flag any factual errors, national security concerns or material that could put FBI sources at risk,” according to Politico’s sources.
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that Wray told him after viewing the four page document that he still had concerns about the memo despite having reviewed it.
“The review did not satisfy, I think, either the bureau or [DOJ’s] concerns,” Schiff said. “The director of the FBI asked for the opportunity to come before the committee and express those concerns.”
Wray never got that opportunity, as the House Committee voted on partisan lines to release the Republican memo to the public and to prevent the Democratic response to the memo from being distributed to anyone outside of Congress.
President Trump still has weigh in by either objecting to or approving the Committee’s release of the document in the next five days, but given his public statements to date, we can easily expect him to approve the release of a memo specifically written to help create doubt about the people investigating his misdeeds.