The Hill reports the 'breaking' news that the White House has approved the public release of the MEMO. The MEMO was crafted by staff of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
From an earlier report ...
The furor surrounding a controversial Republican-drafted memo alleging surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice reached a fever pitch on Thursday as the White House signaled that the release could be imminent.
President Trump has viewed the memo and been briefed on its contents. A senior administration official said the president supports making the memo public and is expected to sign off on its release as soon as Friday.
“It’s in Congress’s hands after that,” the official said.
But even as Trump inches closer to approving its release, the document has divided Republicans on Capitol Hill and has led to calls from top Democrats for the removal of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who spearheaded the document.
Nunes, whose committee would ultimately release the document, is under pressure to deliver after conservatives hinted heavily that the document holds the key to putting a stop to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia and the president’s campaign.
The Department of Justice and the FBI have fiercely opposed the release of the memo on the grounds that it is misleading and could expose sensitive intelligence sources and methods. Nunes has fired back sharply at the FBI’s efforts to cast doubt on the veracity of the document, calling their objections “spurious” and doubling down on the need to release the memo.
The White House and the bureau have been wrangling over what redactions, if any, to apply to the document. Committee Republicans have said redactions are unnecessary.
The White House official insisted that the memo “doesn’t give away too much in terms of classification” and said that significant redactions appeared unlikely.
The drama took another unexpected turn on Wednesday night when Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, accused Nunes of altering the memo ahead of its release. Nunes says he only changed the memo to clean up grammatical errors and to make additions that Schiff and the FBI had asked for.
Democrats have drafted their own memo to rebut the Republican-drafted document. The majority on the House Intelligence Committee voted against making that document public earlier this week, although it could still be released.
But even as the embattled chairman has defended the memo, other senior Republicans have begun urging caution. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) this week pleaded with GOP members not to overplay the document’s findings and not to tie it to the Mueller investigation.
“What this is not is an indictment on our institutions, of our justice system. This memo is not an indictment of the FBI, of the Department of Justice. It does not impugn [Mueller’s] investigation or the deputy attorney general,” Ryan said Thursday at the Republican retreat in West Virginia.
“What it is, is the Congress’s legitimate function of oversight to make sure the FISA process is being used correctly,” he added, referring to a controversial government surveillance program. “If it wasn’t being used correctly, that needs to come to light and people need to be held accountable so this doesn’t affect our civil liberties.”
Then, on Thursday, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) told reporters that Nunes should heed the FBI’s concerns and share the memo with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) before releasing it publicly, noting that Burr has been unable to obtain the document.
“There are important national security considerations they need to weigh, and hopefully they’re doing that,” Thune said.