President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE plans to allow the release of a controversial memo detailing alleged surveillance abuses at the FBI, according to a senior administration official.
The official said Trump will inform Congress of his decision “probably tomorrow,” adding the president did not have any national security objections to releasing it and would likely not request that any material be redacted.
“The president is OK with it,” the official told reporters traveling with Trump aboard Air Force One. “I doubt there will be any redactions. It’s in Congress’s hands after that.”
The decision paves the way for the document, which was drafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, to be released to the public.
Once the White House approves the memo's release, it would be up to the Intelligence panel to decide if and when to make it public.
Trump has been widely expected to sign off on the public release of the document, which some conservatives on Capitol Hill have heavily hinted could prove the undoing of the federal investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia.
The president has long derided that probe as a "witch hunt."
Democrats have described the document as a series of cherry-picked data points designed to kneecap special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE's investigation.
Intelligence Committee Republicans have blocked Democrats, at least for now, from releasing their own countermemo drafted to rebut the GOP document.
The FBI also fiercely opposes the release of the document.
Senior Justice Department officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE, have lobbied both the White House and the Intelligence Committee against releasing the document.
In a rare public statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the FBI characterized the memo as misleading, noting that they had been given limited opportunity to review it before the committee voted to release it and saying the agency has "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
The future of the document now rests with Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Florida Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick sworn in as newest House member GOP lawmaker adheres to term limit pledge, won't run for reelection MORE (R-Calif.), whose staff drafted the memo based on classified documents provided by the Justice Department.
Nunes is under a mountain of pressure from the right to release the document, even as other members of his own party urge caution.
Senate Republican Conference Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell aims to sidestep GOP drama over Trump There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future MORE (S.D.) said Thursday that Nunes should first share the memo with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Government watchdog faults HHS leadership for sustained public health crisis failures Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE (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,” he told reporters at a Republican retreat in West Virginia.
Committee Republicans used an obscure House rule to override the classification of the document and make it public. The rule gave Trump five days to block the release of the document. It is not clear whether the committee will move to release it immediately upon receipt of his approval or wait the full five days.
The committee voted to release the memo on Monday night.
The precise contents of the memo remain unknown. However, it’s believed to contain allegations that the FBI did not adequately explain to a clandestine court that some of the information used in a surveillance warrant application for Trump campaign adviser Carter Page came from what is known as the "Steele dossier," which was composed of opposition research partially funded by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second The politics of 'mind control' MORE’s presidential campaign.
Adding further uncertainty, the Intel Committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House CIA says 'Havana syndrome' unlikely a result of 'worldwide campaign' by foreign power The Hill's Morning Report - Biden to make voting rights play in Atlanta MORE (Calif.), on Wednesday claimed that Nunes had altered the contents of the memo after the committee had voted to release it.
It's unclear what changes were made. A spokesman for Nunes said Democrats were "complaining about minor edits ... including grammatical fixes and two edits requested by the FBI and the Minority themselves."
Democrats say the changes are far more substantive. A committee source said the changes were "not cosmetic" and "try to water down some of the majority's assertions."
House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBriahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement The Hill's Morning Report - Who will replace Justice Breyer? House Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill MORE (D-Calif.) has demanded that Nunes step down over the alterations.
Updated at 3:33 p.m.