White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said a controversial and classified memo that alleges surveillance abuses by the FBI will be released “pretty quick” despite warnings from two top Justice Department officials it contains false information and could harm national security.
“It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it,” Kelly told Fox News Radio on Wednesday, adding that he has seen the Republican-written document and that White House and national security lawyers are currently reviewing it.
“This president … he wants everything out so the american people can make up their own minds and if people need to be held accountable, so be it,” he continued.
FBI Director Christopher Wray and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday made a last-minute plea to Kelly to relate to the president that the four-page memo could damage national security and set a dangerous precedent for the handling of classified materials, according to the Washington Post.
Wray, who was allowed to view the memo on Sunday, also told Kelly that the document contains inaccurate information and creates a false narrative, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The Washington Post story came out just before Trump was heard on an open mic after his State of the Union address Tuesday evening saying he’s “100 percent” behind making the memo public.
Kelly told Wray and Rosenstein that Trump was still inclined to publicly release the document, but would first have the National Security Council and the White House counsel review it.
That examination could take several days.
Their appeal Monday came just before members of the GOP-controlled House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release it, giving Trump a five-day window to make a decision.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the panel’s chairman, and other Republicans wrote the memo that reportedly includes allegations that the DOJ and FBI used some of the information in a controversial dossier to seek a warrant to spy on former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page.
The dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, contains unsubstantiated claims connecting Trump and Russian officials.
It was bankrolled by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee.