President Donald Trump appears poised to release a classified memo crafted by House Republicans that casts doubt on the Justice Department’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia and that country’s election meddling without first reviewing it.
As Trump exited the House chamber Tuesday night after delivering his first State of the Union address, South Carolina GOP Rep. Jeff Duncan shouted: “Mr. President, let’s release the memo.”
Trump, who has the authority to declassify any piece of information, shot back: “Don’t worry, 100 percent. Can you imagine?” The exchange was caught on a hot mic.
The president’s enthusiasm about making the document public came as the White House has given no indication the he has read the memo, prepared by Republican members on the House Intelligence Committee over the howls from its Democratic side.
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The GOP-crafted document reportedly accuses the FBI of overstepping its authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by using a controversial dossier on Trump and Russia when it sought and obtained a surveillance warrant on a former campaign aide.
The Intelligence panel voted along party lines Monday evening to release it; Trump has five days to decide whether to authorize its release.
On Tuesday, a few hours before the hot mic moment, Trump’s top spokeswoman said there were “no current plans” to release the document. “The president has not seen or been briefed on the memo or reviewed its contents,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
She reiterated that in a television interview Wednesday morning, saying Trump had not seen the memo when he entered the House chamber Tuesday night.