President Donald Trump has accused the Democrats of playing politics with classified information, asserting that their memo countering GOP allegations about the conduct of the FBI's Russian Federation probe is a trap meant to "blame the White House for lack of transparency".
Despite the objections of the FBI and Justice Department, President Trump agreed to declassify and release that memo the following Friday, suggesting the document essentially invalidated the Russian Federation investigation. The "very political and long" document had to be redone and sent back "in proper form", the president said.
The president as you well know and as the nation has learned declined to release the memo that you and the staff of the House Intelligence Committee on the Democratic side drafted. The president says that he would like to give an interview to Bob Mueller, but his lawyers may be saying, oh, but as much as he would like to, he just can't do it.
The head of the House committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who produced the GOP memo, encouraged Democrats to accept the Justice Department's recommendations and "make the appropriate technical changes and redactions".
The President has said he would release the memo but chose not to after White House Lawyer Don Mcgahn said it contains 'numerous classified and sensitive passages'.
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Earlier this week, the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Democratic memo. Rosenstein is now overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether there was any connection between Russians and Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wants to show the Nunes memo is misleading, but also has to walk a fine line by not disclosing intelligence and more about the FISA process - a tightrope walk the White House can exploit.
People familiar with the Democratic memo said it argues that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was more forthcoming with the surveillance court than Republicans had claimed. The president had until today to decide whether to allow the classified material to become public after the House intelligence panel voted Monday to release it. The Department of Justice says it would be extraordinarily reckless to release this.
Trump declassified the GOP memo over the objections of Rosenstein and Wray.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intel committee, took issue with the administration's action.
Trump's delaying move could have the effect of devaluing the impact of the Democratic memo, even if a redacted version is eventually released.
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He is a political operative and author of a second Trump-Russia dossier.
Recall that in 2014, then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein released a document prepared by committee Democrats about the CIA's terrorist interrogation program that was rife with "material omissions of fact".
The House Committee rule used to send the memo to Trump can also be used to bypass him, and appeal directly to the House of Representatives.
Ruth Marcus with The Washington Post claimed during an MSNBC appearance on February 3 that it is "really important for people to know" that FISA applications "are thick documents" and that the Republicans "cherry-pick [ed]" in the Nunes memo.
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