President Donald Trump erupted aboard Air Force One last week when he learned of the Justice Department’s efforts to quash the release of a classified memo alleging abuses by FBI and Justice Department officials, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.
As he made his way to Davos, Switzerland, Trump fumed to aides about Associate Attorney General Stephen Boyd’s warning that the release of the memo – written by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee – would be “extraordinarily reckless,” the source said.
Bloomberg was first to report the incident.
The White House has not explicitly called for the memo’s release, but White House officials have made clear that Trump will not stand in the way if the House Intelligence Committee votes to release it. Behind the scenes, White House officials made several calls to the Justice Department to tamp down the agency’s opposition to the release of the memo, which has been described as including damaging information about FBI and Justice Department officials, particularly as it pertains to the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Last week, White House chief of staff John Kelly spoke directly to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, making clear the President’s displeasure with the Justice Department’s opposition to the memo’s release.
The incident aboard Air Force One is just the latest reported instance of Trump lashing out privately at Justice Department officials over matters concerning the special counsel’s investigation. Trump has repeatedly fumed about Sessions’ recusal from the investigation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director who resigned Monday.
The House Intelligence Committee is poised to vote on the memo’s release as early as Monday evening.