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White House to review GOP memo alleging anti-Trump bias in FBI


The memo will have to wait.

The White House announced Tuesday that it will conduct a national security review before President Trump can decide whether to release a contentious and widely disputed memo that claims the FBI and the Justice Department improperly spied on his campaign.

The four-page memo arrived at the White House on Monday night after Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted on party lines to release it. The committee's chairman, California Rep. Devin Nunes, is a close Trump ally and has become a thorn in the side of the FBI since first bringing up the memo last year.

Trump had originally planned to drop the memo right after his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, according to reports, but the national security review will likely delay the release.

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Ryan said the hotly contested memo should be released.

Ryan said the hotly contested memo should be released.


Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News Tuesday afternoon that Trump hadn't reviewed the memo yet.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters he's in favor of releasing the memo, which Democrats have blasted as a deliberate attempt at undermining special prosecutor Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government.

“I think we should disclose all this stuff,” Ryan said Tuesday morning, adding that it was however important to protect classified sources.

Releasing the GOP document, Ryan said, is “the best disinfectant” and could root out what “may have been malfeasance at the FBI by certain individuals.”

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The memo reportedly suggests that Justice Department and FBI officials improperly handled the ongoing Russia probe.

Nunes' memo questions whether the FBI and DOJ showed enough evidence to get a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Nunes' memo questions whether the FBI and DOJ showed enough evidence to get a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

(Susan Walsh/AP)

Chief among their concerns was a surveillance warrant, approved by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein not long after he was sworn in last spring, to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The GOP document alleges the warrant was based on intel from the controversial dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, which contains explosive and uncorroborated claims that the Kremlin obtained damaging information on Trump and is blackmailing him to do its bidding.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee excoriated the Republican majority for voting in favor of releasing the memo, but voting against releasing the minority's addendum.

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Ryan said the criticism against the FBI should be split from the probe Mueller is undertaking.

(Andrew Harnik/AP)

"We raised of course the transparently political objective behind this, which is to allow the majority to set a certain narrative a week or so before they release a full statement of the facts from the minority," California Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters after Monday's vote.

Ryan warned his fellow House Republicans from drawing a distinction between the charges in the memo and the separate investigation undertaken by Mueller.

“I think because of all the loose political rhetoric floating around here, we need to make sure we explain that there is a separation between these things,” Ryan said.

The memo takes aim at Rosenstein, who approved the warrant extension not long after he was sworn in last spring.

(Joshua Roberts/REUTERS)

Ryan’s comments come a day after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe resigned amid long-running pressure from President Trump. The veteran lawman was reportedly pressured to step down ahead of the memo’s release as well as an inspector general’s report on his possible conflicts of interest.

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The commander-in-chief has long accused McCabe of being unfair against him, while biased for Hillary Clinton, because of his wife’s political affiliations.