Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Trump Blocks Release of Democratic Memo, Cites Security Concerns

US President Donald Trump Image President Trump has blocked the congressional Democrats' memo
Patty Aguilar | 12 February, 2018, 00:00

President Donald Trump on Friday refused to allow public disclosure of a Democratic response to a contentious House Republican memo on the FBI's Russian Federation probe - which Trump approved for release last week.

The Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, California Rep. Adam Schiff, criticized Trump for treating the two documents differently, saying the president is now seeking revisions by the same committee that produced the original Republican memo.

Trump tweeted Saturday that the Democrats deliberately sent a "very political and long response memo" which they knew would have to be heavily redacted, so they could blame the White House for lack of transparency.

The Democratic counter-memo deserves to be read by Americans, "once the necessary redactions have been made", says Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.

On Capitol Hill, partisan sparring over the release of the memos has marked a low point in relations between Republicans and Democrats on the traditionally bipartisan committee, with many members expecting that the panel's once-united Russian Federation investigation will likely end with dueling majority and minority reports.

But the Democrat, Jim Himes of CT, accused Mr. Trump of hypocrisy in demanding changes to the document, echoing a grievance leveled by other Democrats on the committee. Members of the Intelligence Committee say the sensitive passages are those that show Trump's illegal role in trying to block the investigation. Trump authorised its release anyway.

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President Donald Trump won't release a memorandum written by Democrats on the investigation into Russia's alleged election meddling, a letter from White House counsel said Friday.

Trump's delaying move could have the effect of devaluing the impact of the Democratic memo, even if a redacted version is eventually released.

Trump, after overriding the FBI's rare public remonstration that the GOP memo contained "material omissions of fact", is now posing as a sober guardian of classified information. The president declassified the document last week, allowing its publication in full. "What does the President have to hide?" she tweeted.

"The Democratic response sets out the material facts that were necessary for the public to see that the Federal Bureau of Investigation acted properly in seeking a FISA warrant on Carter Page", Schiff said. It is 10 pages, while the GOP memo is four pages.

"We actually want the Democratic memo out".

Democrats and USA intelligence officials had strongly disputed the GOP memo's accuracy before and after its release. If that did happen, though, responsibility for overseeing the Mueller probe would then fall to the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.

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