Trump Caught on Hot Mic Saying He Will '100 Percent' Release Nunes Memo, Despite Justice Department Objections

As President Donald Trump left the Capitol Tuesday after his State of the Union address—a speech in which he tried to strike a tone of unity—he promised a Republican lawmaker he would "100 percent" release a classified and controversial partisan memo undermining the Justice Department and FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Representative Jeff Duncan of South Carolina was caught on a hot mic as he shook Trump's hand, telling the president, "Just release the memo."

"Oh, yeah, well, 100 percent," Trump responded, dismissing Duncan's concern with a wave of his hand. 

The House Intelligence Committee voted Monday along partisan lines to declassify the memo after the committee's chairman, Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), helped spearhead the #ReleaseTheMemo social media campaign—an initiative apparently boosted by Russian bots. The vote came after the Justice Department had urged the committee against the release, calling such a decision "extraordinarily reckless." The memo reportedly undermines Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's election interference efforts and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. It also purports that FBI and Justice Department officials mislead a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge to secure a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser. 

RTS1LV2A Representative Jeff Duncan, Republican of South Carolina and outspoken Trump supporter, told the president to release a classified partisan memo at the State of the Union. President Donald Trump answered, "Oh, yeah, well, don’t worry. One-hundred percent.” REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool

Duncan has been an ardent Trump supporter. In April 2017,  while at the White House to celebrate the president signing an executive order expanding offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, Duncan rolled up his pant leg to reveal a red and white striped sock with the word "Trump" stitched on it. He has also been a vocal proponent of releasing the memo. On Thursday, Duncan posted a since-pinned tweet saying, "Time to: #BuildTheWall And #ReleaseTheMemo #MAGA."

Democrats have objected to publishing the memo, chalking it up simply to Republican talking points. After the House committee voted to release the memo, the committee's ranking Democrat, Representative Adam Schiff of California, told CNN's Anderson Cooper the document was drafted without its authors even fully reviewing the source material that provided its basis. 

RELATED: Nunes 'Cherry-picked' Details for the Secret Memo Without Reading the Source Material

Schiff focused his opprobrium on Nunes, even though Nunes stepped away from leading the Russia investigation last year. "The chairman never bothered to go read these underlying materials," Schiff told CNN. "After months and months of making this argument that the FBI and DOJ are involved in some sort of conspiracy, he didn't even bother to read the materials himself."

RTS14D12 Representative Jeff Duncan, Republican of South Carolina, rolls up his pant leg to reveal a Trump sock at an event where President Donald Trump signed an executive order to expand drilling for oil on April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

After the committee voted to release the memo—it also voted Monday against releasing an equally partisan Democrat memo that rebuts its Republican counterpart—the Justice Department tried to plead its case against declassification to the White House. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that the memo doesn't accurately describe the Justice Department's investigative practices, according to the Washington Post

Trump has five days from when the committee voted to review the memo to decide whether it should be declassified.

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