Trump Won't Declassify Democratic Memo, Sends It Back to Committee for Changes

Casey Dawson
February 15, 2018

Democrats put together their own memo rebutting the allegations, and the House Intelligence Committee voted to declassify and release it.

The message was sent to the committee Friday in a letter from White House Counsel Don McGahn.

The memo was written in response to a controversial four-page document released February 2 by Republicans on the House intelligence committee that was primarily focused on how a 2016 dossier on Trump and his associates was used to take out surveillance warrants on one of his campaign advisers.

"I know the Nunes memo is misleading, and I know Congressman Schiff was seeking to provide a factual counterpoint", Feinstein said. Trump alleges that the Democrats "would have blamed the White House for lack of transparency" had he chose to release a redacted memo.

Democrats on Friday slammed Trump for declining to declassify the document, which responds to the controversial Nunes memo made public last week.

The committee had earlier voted along party lines against releasing both the Democratic and Republican memos at the same time. That's odd, because the Federal Bureau of Investigation - which is administered by the DOJ - vigorously objected to the release of the Nunes memo over "material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy". In retrospect, it looks as though the White House prepared the ground for his decision by saying all week that he was of a mind to release the memo - dampening expectations that his motivations were political.

Some Republicans have claimed the Democratic memo involved more substantial information about law enforcement sources and methods. It instead instructed Democrats to work with the Justice Department to adjust the memo so that it could be released publicly.

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Democrats said it mischaracterized 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. Republicans have seized on the Steele dossier because he was commissioned by the political research firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Upon Trump's decision, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer asked, "Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?" She added: "Clearly, the president has something to hide".

The Nunes memo has been widely criticized, and Democrats have argued that a key claim - that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said the Steele dossier was vital to the FISA application - simply isn't true.

The probe into Russian meddling has cast a long and obstinate shadow on the Trump administration with four campaign and administration officials have been indicated on a variety of charges by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team that is conducting the FBI investigations.

If Democrats take back the House in November, Adam Schiff is going to be man who will be running the House investigation into Donald Trump.

Nunes said the request was "not a surprise" and that they "packed it full of sources and methods", though he said he and fellow Republican lawmakers prefer the Democrats' memo to be released, as long as certain redactions are included. "Their memo is sitting at the House Intelligence Committee down at the bottom of the Capitol waiting to be redacted", the California Republican told Fox News.

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