Tags: Donald Trump | Russia Probe | Trump Administration | chris coons | christopher wray | release the memo | fbi

Dem Sen. Coons: Trump 'Playing With Fire' If FBI's Wray Quits

(CNN's "The Situation Room")

By    |   Thursday, 01 February 2018 07:12 PM

Sen. Chris Coons said President Donald Trump was "playing with fire" by risking the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray in deciding to release the Republican memo on surveillance abuses by the agency in the Russia investigation.

"He can reach a judgment on whether the respect or treatment he's getting out of the White House is a level that rises to compelling him to resign in protest," Coons, who represents Delaware and is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Wolf Blitzer on CNN on Thursday.

"FBI Director Wray enjoys a widespread respect in the United States Senate," he added. "The president is playing with fire to put at risk the potential resignation and protest of his current FBI director."

White House aides warned Thursday that Wray, whom Trump nominated after he fired James Comey, will quit the FBI's directorship if President Trump approved the release of the memo by Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California.

Wray has publicly opposed the document's release, warning Thursday it contained "material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy."

In addition, White House officials told reporters aboard Air Force One the administration will likely tell Congress on Friday that President Trump has approved the release of the memo without redactions.

The Republican document centers on the agency's use of a dossier on Trump and Moscow by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.

It alleges the court judge operating under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act who signed off on the warrant supposedly based it on the dossier.

Further, the document says the judge was not given full information about the dossier, including that Democratic sources later paid for it.

Coons and the Judiciary Committee's Republican chairman, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, opposed any version of the memo's release — saying on Twitter that Trump's decision risked "undermining U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts, politicizing Congress' oversight role, and eroding confidence in our institutions of government."

Coons told Blitzer: "It is striking that we've got the president of the United States willing to take on the FBI and its leadership and willing to take on the Department of Justice and its leadership simply in an effort to try and further discredit [Russia special counsel Robert] Mueller's ongoing probe."

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Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said President Donald Trump was "playing with fire" by risking the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray.
chris coons, christopher wray, release the memo, fbi
Thursday, 01 February 2018 07:12 PM
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