Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump explains refusal to declassify Dems' memo

Trump explains refusal to declassify Dems' memo

On Friday, Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, accused the President of holding double standards in approving the release of the Republican memo but blocking the Democratic one.

In the letter Donald F. McGahn II offered the House committee technical assistance by the DOJ to modify the memo to mitigate the national security risks.

Democrats expressed outrage at the president's decision.

It was expected that the memo crafted by Democrats would contain unreleasable information in an attempt to trap the president into appearing to favor Republicans.

The release last week of the "Nunes memo" increased speculation that Trump would try to oust Rosenstein.

At the time, Democrats complained that the Republican memo didn't give an accurate picture of how the warrants were supported and whether it was disclosed that political organizations bankrolled the dossier. The FBI publicly objected to the Nunes memo's release, suggesting the document left out key facts and was misleading.

On Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden, who as a legislator helped pass the Violence Again Women Act, criticized Trump's comment about Porter. "And if we redacted it, then there would be an outcry that said the White House is trying to edit it. Any minor redactions should be made as quickly as possible and the memo should be released". "The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity". 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. Tonight the White House says it will not declassify the rebuttal from Democrats. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: "what is he hiding?" he said.

Congress could vote to overrule the president's decision, but such a move appears unlikely.

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Democrats said the Republican memo mischaracterised highly sensitive classified information and was meant to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of potential collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation.

This comes less than a week after Trump making the Republic memo public.

The new document was blocked because of the "numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages", according to a letter sent by White House counsel Don McGahn to the House Intelligence Committee that leads the probe. Republicans argued that the reliance on Steele's material politicized the government's surveillance powers. But Nunes said the disclosure still fell short. The memo alleges the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department didn't tell the court enough about Steele's anti-Trump bias or that his work was partly paid by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

His refusal to block the second memo, unanimously approved for release by the GOP-controlled House Intelligence Committee, just a week after allowing the Nunes memo to go public.

What appears obvious is the chair of the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, cherry-picked selective classified intelligence information to demean the work of our intelligence people in a manner meant to undercut the Mueller investigation.

The surveillance warrant application itself remains under tight seal. What if they really don't want more information out on FISA surveillance and the Steele dossier? There is no precedent for releasing such documents publicly.

In 2017, four separate probes in the US Congress concerning allegations of Russian election meddling were launched, including the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees and the House's Intelligence and Oversight panels.

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