Nunes fires back at FBI for 'spurious objections' to memo release

Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesRussia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe MORE (R-Calif.) fired back at the FBI and Department of Justice on Wednesday for what he called “spurious objections” to the release of a GOP-authored memo purporting to show abuse of surveillance powers by the agencies.

“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies,” Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

Nunes and his staff compiled the memo from classified material provided by the DOJ and FBI. Numerous Republicans as well as the White House have been advocating its release, which may happen this week.

On Wednesday, the FBI issued a rare public statement warning against the expected release of the memo, saying it has “grave concerns” about its contents.

"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," the bureau said.

"As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy."

Nunes slammed the FBI for their concern over "omissions." 

“The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses," he said in the statement.

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“Regardless, it’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign,” he added.

The memo reportedly alleges abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which governs U.S. spying on foreigners. It also is reported to include claims about a FISA application to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page based in part on opposition research by investigator Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier containing unverified claims about Trump's ties to Russia.

Nunes went on to push for the memo's release.

“Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again," he said. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE last year, reportedly warned the White House against releasing the classified memo. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted this week to make the memo public.

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinTrump attack on Sessions may point to his departure Hill.TV INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: Trump eviscerates Sessions: ‘I don’t have an attorney general’ Dem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ MORE reportedly made a similar plea to White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE this week that releasing the memo could put classified information at risk.

The committee’s vote gives Trump five days to review the document and make a final decision about its release.

Trump was heard telling a Republican lawmaker after Tuesday’s State of the Union address that he is “100 percent” for releasing the document.

House Republicans have clamored for the release of the document, saying it contains evidence of bias against Trump in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Democrats have authored their own document rebutting the Republican memo, but Republicans members of the Intel panel voted against its release earlier this week.