Trump 'unable' to declassify key Democrat memo

Saul Bowman
February 15, 2018

The memo by committee Republicans claimed bias against Trump by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department in the federal investigation of Russian Federation and the 2016 USA election.

In a letter to the committee released Friday night, White House Counsel Donald McGahn offered the assistance of Justice Department experts to revise the document so it can be made public.

"I know the Nunes memo is misleading, and I know Congressman Schiff was seeking to provide a factual counterpoint", Feinstein said.

The move raises a host of questions about Donald Trump's motives for declassifying the intelligence in the Republican memo but refusing to do so for the Democratic version of the memo, despite a unanimous voteby the bipartisan House Intelligence Committee in favor of publishing the second memo. The FBI expressed "grave concerns" about the memo's accuracy and the Justice Department said in advance that its release, without proper review, would be "extraordinarily reckless".

Democrats also said it was questionable that the White House sent the Democratic memo back to the panel's Republican majority, rather than submitting it to Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the committee's ranking minority member. Tonight the White House says it will not declassify the rebuttal from Democrats.

President Trump reviewed the Democratic memo with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, White House chief of staff John Kelly told reporters on Tuesday.

Among the Republicans who publicly criticized the president for refusing to release the rebuttal was Justin Amash, of MI, who said the public has a right to examine both documents and draw their own conclusions. In response, Democrats drafted their own memo which was supposed to refute the claims made by the GOP.

President Trump himself has previously claimed the Nunes memo "totally vindicates" him in the ongoing probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

"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.

"It was not clear what the president meant by "(and more)". "Thanks to this rhetoric", Christopher Hunter, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, told the Times, "there is a subset of the public that won't believe what comes out of the Mueller investigation".

The president cited national security concerns in his decision and requested that sensitive information be redacted before the document is released, sending congressional Democrats into a fury over what some saw as an attempt to avoid transparency in the White House. "Their memo is sitting at the House Intelligence Committee down at the bottom of the Capitol waiting to be redacted". It says that while the FBI did not name the Democratic National Committee or Clinton's campaign, the bureau did disclose to the court that the information it had received from Steele was politically motivated.

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