Trump won't declassify Democratic memo


Democrats on the House panel drafted their memo to counter claims in a document released last week by Republicans, led by committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes of California. Peter King and Ron DeSantis, listens to a reporter's question as he speaks on Capitol Hill on October 24, 2017.

The Democratic countermemo, authored by the committee's ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was drafted in response to the Nunes memo which contends that officials at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation abused their authority in authorizing surveillance on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

"However, given the public interest in transparency in these unprecedented circumstances, the President has directed that Justice Department personnel be available to give technical assistance to the Committee, should the Committee wish to revise the February 5th Memorandum to mitigate the risks identified by the Department".

"Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5 Memorandum, because the memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time", McGahn said in a letter to Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House panel.

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The Republican memo had accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation of suppressing Democratic ties to an opposition research dossier on Trump and Russian Federation used to procure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Mr. Trump huddled with Mr. Wray, principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Robert Hur and staff from the White House Counsel's Office "to receive their input" on the memo, said White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

"It's going to be released soon", Trump had told reporters at the White House earlier on Friday, adding, "We're going to release a letter".

But congressional Democrats and Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC, who helped draft the GOP memo, have said it shouldn't be used to undermine the special counsel. Trump made the GOP document public last week, but won't do the same with the Democratic memo.

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The previously released Republican text alleges anti-Trump bias in the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 USA election that brought Trump to power. "An innocent person would not block the memo".

The president had until Saturday to decide whether to allow the classified material to become public after the House intelligence committee voted Monday to release it. Republicans backed releasing the memo in committee with a unanimous vote, but several said they thought it should be redacted.

USA intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign using hacking and propaganda, an effort that eventually included attempting to tilt the race in Trump's favour. Trump denies collusion with Moscow.

The minority memo describes in greater detail why law enforcement officials wanted to conduct surveillance on Page beyond the information contained in the Steele dossier, according to sources familiar with the document.

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