WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior Justice Department officials on Monday warned White House Chief of Staff John Kelly about the dangers of publicly releasing a memo that alleges abuses by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing people briefed on the meeting.
Before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee voted to make the document public on Monday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Kelly the four-page memo could jeopardise classified information and urged President Donald Trump to reconsider his support for making it public, the Post said, citing the people.
Rosenstein was joined at the White House meeting by FBI Director Christopher Wray, who also opposed its release, they said.
The House intelligence panel voted along party lines on Monday to release a classified memo that Republicans say shows anti-Trump bias by the FBI and the Justice Department in seeking a warrant to conduct an intelligence eavesdropping operation. [nL2N1PO205]
The Post cited a person familiar with the discussion as saying that Rosenstein said the Justice Department did not believe the memo accurately described its investigative practices and that making it public could set a dangerous precedent.
Rosenstein is supervising Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Kelly told Rosenstein and Wray that Trump was still inclined to release the memo but that the White House would let it be reviewed by the National Security Council and the White House Counsel’s Office, a senior administration official told the Post.
The White House, the Justice Department and the FBI all declined to comment on the meeting, the Post reported.
Two sources familiar with the memo have told Reuters it accuses the FBI and the Justice Department of abusing their authority in asking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge to approve a request to extend an eavesdropping operation on Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Lisa Shumaker