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In letter, DOJ tells Devin Nunes releasing memo would be "extraordinarily reckless"

Nunes recuses himself
House Intel chair recuses himself from Russian investigation 02:31

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes in a letter Wednesday that releasing a memo prepared by the committee's staff alleging abuses at the Department of Justice and FBI would be "extraordinarily reckless."

Republicans have been urging for the release of the memo, which, as Boyd pointed out, likely contains highly classified information. In the letter, obtained by CBS News, Boyd highlights how crucial it is that the committee not release the memo to the public for reasons of national security. The memo describes the FBI's supposed abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

"We believe it would be extraordinarily reckless for the committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the department and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum and to advise the (committee) of the risk of harm to national security and to ongoing investigations that could come from public release," Boyd wrote. "Indeed, we do not understand why the committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the intelligence community."

Instead, Boyd, on behalf of the DOJ, renewed a previous request from the FBI director that the department have the opportunity to review the memo in question before any public release. Alternatively, Boyd suggested that Nunes offer the memo to its watchdog, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

"His office would appropriately investigate any alleged wrongdoing by the FBI or other department personnel and independently assess whether prior public release of the memorandum would impair its ability to do so," Boyd said.

Also copied on the letter were Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, and Senate Intelligence Committee Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virginia.

The DOJ and FBI have come under intense scrutiny from some Republicans and the president himself, amid the ongoing investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties to the Trump campaign. Mr. Trump late Wednesday said he is looking forward to an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, and would be willing to testify under oath.

Inside Trump's impromptu White House press conference 04:04

CBS News' Paula Reid contributed to this report. 

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