Trump says Democratic memo on Russian Federation is 'very political,' needs redactions

Trump says Democratic memo on Russian Federation is 'very political,' needs redactions

Trump tweeted Saturday that the Democrats deliberately sent a "very political and long response memo" which they knew would have to be heavily redacted, so they could blame the White House for lack of transparency.

The four-page GOP memo, released last week, argues that Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance of former Trump campaign official Carter Page was authorized in part because of claims in the unverified Trump dossier authored by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.

Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (Va.) on Saturday knocked President Trump's defense for not releasing a Democratic memo meant to rebut GOP claims of political bias in law enforcement, calling Trump's move a "nice try" and questioning his motives.

The White House has said it will reconsider the document once changes are made - but Democrats quickly accused President Trump of "hypocrisy".

The House intelligence committee voted unanimously Monday to release the memo, which answers a Republican document released last week. But Democrats and Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who helped draft the GOP memo, have said it shouldn't be used to undermine the special counsel.

"Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time", the letter says.

Citing national security concerns, the White House on Friday formally notified the House intelligence committee that President Donald Trump is "unable" to declassify a memo drafted by Democrats that counters GOP allegations about abuse of government surveillance powers in the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

"One week after he released the misleading and incomplete Nunes memo, President Trump tonight blocked the release of the Schiff memo that sought to fill in the holes". They say the GOP memo is designed as a distraction from the probe, which is looking into whether Trump's campaign was in any way connected to the Russian interference.


Trump also seized on revelations in the Nunes memo that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein approved a warrant application for surveillance on Page, raising the specter that the president could fire him which would trigger a potential crisis in who would oversee Mueller's investigation, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the probe.

The controversy also illustrates the relative impotence of Democrats trying to hold Trump's feet to the fire.

The Democratic memo is expected to elaborate on these points.

"The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that's harmful to him".

Kelly said he had given FBI, DOJ and intelligence officials until Thursday to review the document.

The decision to completely block the memo's release - rather than redact particular excerpts objected to by law enforcement and intelligence agencies - could give further ammunition to critics who say the president is politicizing the process.

They argued that the reliance on Steele's material amounted to an improper politicization of the government's surveillance powers.

Democrats warn this does not just amount to a double standard, but also reflects a pattern of attempts by the President to frustrate the investigation because he has something to hide.

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