On Monday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee invoked an obscure, never-before-used House rule to approve release of a four-page classified memo compiled by Republican committee staffers for Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a member of President Trump's transition executive committee, over the objections of FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department officials. On Tuesday, Trump told a GOP lawmaker that he will "100 percent" approve the publication of the memo, even though his White House was still reviewing it.
On Wednesday, the FBI issued a statement baldly warning that the bureau has "grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy," and on Wednesday night, the Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), accused Nunes of making "material changes" to the memo before handing it to the White House, saying it is "imperative that the committee majority immediately withdraw the document that it sent to the White House."
Trump was set to release the memo as early as Thursday, Axios reports, and "staff had viewed it as virtually a done deal." Trump "has been really, really adamant about wanting this to come out," an administration source close to the situation tells Axios. "He wants it out. Full stop." But there's a wrinkle, Mike Allen reports. "We're hearing rumblings that there could be an 11th-hour extenuating circumstance, perhaps related to Schiff's tweet."
The FBI released its public objection after Wray and Justice Department officials made several private entreaties to the White House. "Trump has told advisers that the memo could benefit him by undercutting the special counsel's investigation and allow him to oust senior Justice Department officials," notably Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, The Washington Post reports. "Allies say he is upset that he can't control 'my guys' at the 'Trump Justice Department' and that no one seems particularly loyal to him." As Axios says: "Another day, another uncharted territory."