The FBI has not been permitted to see the memo Rep. Devin Nunes and his staff wrote about alleged abuses by the intelligence community, The Daily Beast has learned.
“The FBI has requested to receive a copy of the memo in order to evaluate the information and take appropriate steps if necessary. To date, the request has been declined,” said Andrew Ames, a spokesperson for the FBI.
Reached for comment, Nunes spokesperson Jack Langer said, “The Daily Beast has become America’s foremost publication for regurgitating the Democrats’ talking points.”
Nunes, who heads the powerful House Intelligence panel, put together the four-page memo based on intelligence the FBI showed him and a few of his staff, as well as Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee. More than 150 members of the House have seen Nunes’ memo. Scores are calling for its release, while Democrats say it is “a misleading set of talking points attacking the FBI.”
The fact that Republicans refuse to show the memo to FBI, which characterizes the intelligence they shared with Nunes, has Democrats concerned. One Senate aide told The Daily Beast it means Nunes’ efforts are just politics.
“If this is about FBI abuses, why wouldn’t they share it with the Trump-appointed director who wasn’t at the bureau when the abuses supposedly occurred?” the aide said. “If this is about cleaning up the FBI like they claim, wouldn’t they want Wray as an ally?”
That aide added that making the memo public without letting the FBI see it first could exacerbate tensions between the Hill and the bureau, and that it could make it even less cooperative with congressional requests and subpoenas.
Republicans, meanwhile, say the bureau shouldn’t expect any surprises.
“Sessions, Wray, and Rosenstein testified before the Judiciary Committee,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of the most vocal advocates for releasing the memo. “I’ve read the memo. Nothing contained in it will surprise them. But it has surprised and horrified many of us.”
As the government shutdown rolls on, many Hill Republicans are pushing for the memo’s release. A leadership source told The Daily Beast yesterday that its release was “only a matter of time.” And there’s a significant—though not unanimous—appetite in the House Republican conference for its release.
The House Intelligence Committee decided against letting Democrats release a minority report characterizing the intelligence underlying the memo.
The memo’s release would provide fuel to Republicans’ criticism of Robert Mueller’s investigation into connections between Trump’s allies and the Kremlin. Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., has been one of the most vocal advocates for its publication. Gen. Flynn is cooperating with the Mueller probe, and has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.