February 22, 2018

Trump blocks release of Democrats' counter-memo

12 February 2018, 08:06 | Taylor George

Democrat Adam Schiff rebutting Republican allegations

Adam Schiff

The Democrats have prepared a document in response to the release of the GOP memo that shed a light on the FBI's and the Justice Department's bias against Donald Trump in the first stages of the investigation of the alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Democrats knew the White House would have to edit or block the document, the Republicans said, thus exposing President Trump to charges of hypocrisy.

Trump asked the committee to review the Democratic memo and, with the help of Justice Department officials, work on a revised version.

Democrats expressed outrage at the president's decision. After the House Intelligence Committee voted on a Monday to make that document public, Trump authorized its release swiftly on a Friday afternoon.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, tweeted back.

The Democratic memo is expected to refute a collection of claims compiled by Nunes' office in a separate memo declassified without redactions by the President last Friday.

But Democrats on the committee then produced a memo they said would refute some of the claims made in the Nunes document, which they argue was misleading and sought to undermine the Mueller investigation. "We will redact it to make sure that we're very protective of sources and methods", Schiff said.

In refusing to release the Democratic rebuttal memo, the President cited 'national security concerns'.

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"The executive branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5 memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity", McGahn wrote to the committee.

President Donald Trump is refusing to declassify a high-profile memo written by Democratic lawmakers about the Russian Federation probe. "Clearly the president has something to hide", she said.

If agreement cannot be reached, the Intelligence Committee can submit the memo to the full House for approval but that would require approval by the controlling Republican majority voting to overrule a sitting Republican president. But without the president's support, that seems less likely.

"Blocking its release, and not the Republican one, is clearly a partisan move to muddy the facts, deceive the American public, and distract from Special Counsel Mueller's Russian Federation investigation", said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Schiff's memo challenges a Republican assertion that the Federal Bureau of Investigation based its surveillance application nearly entirely on an unverified dossier paid for by Trump's political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, and that it kept the dossier's origins from the court that approved the warrant. You know, the agencies the Democrats were touting just last week when they were hoping they would be able to successfully prevent the release of the Nunes memo.

But in a letter to the committee's chairman, White House Counsel Don McGahn said Mr Trump had decided against approving public release of the Democratic memo "because the memorandum contains numerous properly classified passages".

Nunes, for his part, said it was "no surprise" that the Schiff memo wasn't released, given its lack of redactions.

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