WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI said Wednesday it has â€śgrave concernsâ€ť about the accuracy of a classified memo on the Russia investigation that President Donald Trump wants to release to the public. It was the first time the bureau has weighed in publicly on an issue that has openly divided the Justice Department and the White House.
In its unusual public statement, the FBI said it was given only a limited opportunity to review the four-page memo, which was drafted by Republicans on the House intelligence committee.
Republicans have said the memo reveals improper use of surveillance by the FBI and the Justice Department in the Russia investigation. But the FBI said Wednesday that important facts were omitted.
â€śAs expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memoâ€™s accuracy,â€ť the FBI said.
The statement escalates the intra-government conflict over the memo, which had already touched off a partisan brawl with Democrats and has pitted GOP lawmakers ordinarily supportive of surveillance against the FBI and the Justice Department. The FBI director and the deputy attorney general have told the White House releasing it could set a dangerous precedent.
But Trump was overheard Tuesday night telling a Republican lawmaker he was â€ś100 percentâ€ť in favor of releasing the memo, and his chief of staff said Wednesday the document is likely to be released â€śpretty quick.â€ť
The encounter on the House floor with South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan was captured by television cameras after the State of the Union address. When Duncan implored him to â€śrelease the memo,â€ť Trump said: â€śOh yeah, donâ€™t worry. 100 percent.â€ť