Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Trump explains refusal to declassify Dems' memo

Trump explains refusal to declassify Dems' memo

A week after allowing the release of a memo from House Intelligence Committee GOP staff alleging FISA abuse in the surveillance of campaign advisor Carter Page, President Trump chose to block the declassification of a rebuttal memo from committee Democrats. Last week we saw the declassified Republican memo.

So far, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not publicly objected to the release of the Democratic memo, though Director Christopher Wray signed a letter to White House counsel Donald McGahn saying that portions of the document could harm national security if disclosed.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement: "The President's double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling".

Democrats in Congress were not pleased with the decision.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, meanwhile, described President Trump's decision to block the release as "hypocrisy at its worse", arguing: "I have reviewed the classified documents that underpin both memos".

"Any minor redactions should be made as quickly as possible and the memo should be released", she said. The widely criticized memo did not ultimately meet the earth-shattering expectations that House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, Trump, and other GOP lawmakers and pundits had set for it.

"The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity", he said.

"If he redacts it or doesn't release it, 'Oh, he's not for transparency, '" Mr. Jordan said. The Department of Justice says it would be extraordinarily reckless to release this. "President Trump clearly doesn't want Americans to have access to the truth", Crowley said.

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Mueller's is just one of several investigations into Russian meddling in the campaign, which include a probe by the House Intelligence Committee.

Instead, it was Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and meetings he had with agents of the Kremlin at which he was offered dirt on Hillary Clinton that triggered the investigation, the Nunes memo says.

The memo challenges Republican allegations contained in the recent so-called 'Nunes memo' of abuse of surveillance powers in the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation during the 2016 election.

After Schiff challenged Trump's claim, the president lashed out on Twitter, calling him "Little Adam Schiff" and accusing him, without presenting any evidence, of leaving "closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information". It is 10 pages, while the GOP memo is four pages.

It does appear that the Democratic memo contains details that could be reasonably said to endanger national security.

Short, though, said Democrats also introduced political theater into the episode.

In sending the memo back to the Intelligence Committee, the White House included a letter from FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cited concerns that the release of the memo might have negative national security implications.

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