In Brief

Trump Russia probe: FBI has ‘grave concerns’ over memo

Democrats fear Donald Trump will use the document as a pretext to sabotage the investigation

FBI Director Christopher Wray has issued a rare public warning that the agency has “grave concerns” over White House plans to release a controversial Republican intelligence memo.

The document, compiled by the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, is believed to contain details of an attempt by the FBI to extend surveillance of former Trump aide Carter Page.

The Guardian says the memo is “potentially explosive”, as it reportedly places blame for the flawed request on deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Wray argues that the memo could be misleading. “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,” he said. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Critics are concerned that Trump could use the document to suggest that Rosenstein is mishandling the investigation into Page.

Democrats believe releasing the memo “increases the risk of a constitutional crisis”, reports the BBC, and could lead to attempts by the White House to fire Mueller or, “as now seems more likely”, Rosenstein.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has accused Republicans of trying to “undermine the special counsel's investigation” by “playing politics with highly classified information”.

However, says CNN, “despite Trump’s insistence the memo be released, the document will be reviewed to ensure that it does not compromise sources and methods,” – a process that may take up to five days.

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