Trump Asks for Democratic Memo 'Re-Do' After Blocking Release

Trump will not declassify Democrats' current memo, White House says

Trump will not declassify Democrats' current memo, White House says

"Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th [Democratic] Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time", White House counsel Donald McGahn wrote in a letter to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chair of the House intelligence committee.

The president's rejection of the Democratic memo is in contrast to his enthusiastic embrace of releasing the Republican document, which he pledged to make public even before reading it.

That memo was prepared by the office of House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, and Donald Trump opted to not block its release despite the Federal Bureau of Investigation publicly raising "grave concerns" about its content.

"In a letter to Mr Nunes, the US president's legal counsel wrote: "[The US Department of Justice] has identified portions of the February 5th Memorandum the disclosure of which it believes would create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests.

He described the Democratic memo as "not as clean as the first one", suggesting that the White House could release it with redactions. McGahn referred the committee to a separate document - not released publicly - in which Wray and Rosenstein were said to provide details to the committee about those concerns.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, compiled his objections into his own memo - a 10-page document that is reportedly a detailed rebuttal to his colleague's claims.

While the Nunes memo is 4 pages long, people who have read it told NPR's Philip Ewing that the Schiff memo is 10 pages and contains many footnotes meant to rebut arguments made by the GOP document.

"This is an American disgrace!" the president tweeted last Saturday, one day after the Nunes memo was released.

The president has said the GOP memo "vindicates" him in the Russian Federation investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. He said the president would again consider making the memo public if the committee, which had approved its release on Monday, revised it to "mitigate the risks".

Trump's decision to block the release of the memo infuriated Democrats, who said it showed a double standard on transparency on the part of the Republican president.

"After ignoring urging of FBI & DOJ not to release misleading Nunes memo because it omits material facts, @POTUS now expresses concerns over sharing precisely those facts with public and seeks to send it back to the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes memo to begin with", Schiff tweeted late Friday. Moreover, critics say, he has repeatedly abused his powers to try to kill the probe, including by firing FBI Director James Comey and by heaping pressure on the FBI and Justice Department.

The document in question was authored by Democrats on the intelligence panel. They could accept Trump's offer for help from the Justice Department to scrub the memo of sensitive information. In retrospect, it looks as though the White House prepared the ground for his decision by saying all week that he was of a mind to release the memo - dampening expectations that his motivations were political.

The surveillance warrant application itself remains under tight seal.

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