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White House Reneges On Trump's Promise To Release Democrats' Memo

11 February 2018

Citing national security concerns, the White House on Friday formally notified the House intelligence committee that President Donald Trump is "unable" to declassify a memo drafted by Democrats that counters GOP allegations about abuse of government surveillance powers in the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

The White House also released a letter sent to McGahn by FBI Director Christopher Wray and to Rod Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official, expressing concerns about the memo's release "in light of longstanding principles regarding the protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations, and other similar sensitive information".

White House Counsel Don McGahn said the Justice Department found the document problematic, as the 10-page memo by Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee contained content that "would create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests" of the country.

Earlier Friday, Trump said he had signed off on the memo's release.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Trump's refusal to release the memo "a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people".

The committee voted unanimously to release the memo on Monday, giving the president five days to determine whether to withhold the document on national security grounds.

The top Democrat on the intelligence panel, 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.

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.

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The president's rejection of the Democratic memo is in contrast to his enthusiastic embrace of releasing the Republican document, which he pledged before reading to make public. Democrats say the court was informed that a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who assembled the dossier, was politically motivated.

McGahn said the president would be willing to reconsider the release of the memo if the committee decides to revise it "to mitigate the risks" identified by the Justice Department.

The dossier was a salacious report about aspects of Trump's history that was funded in part as opposition research by Hillary Clinton's campaign.

One House Republican said the President had made the wrong move.

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"I think the Democrats are politically smart enough to put things in the memo that require either the bureau or the Department of Justice to say it needs to be redacted". He said of his memo, "It sets the context".

White House Reneges On Trump's Promise To Release Democrats' Memo