Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump Meets FBI Director Friday to Discuss Release of Democratic Memo

Trump Meets FBI Director Friday to Discuss Release of Democratic Memo

President Trump will not immediately release a memo drafted by Democrats on the House intelligence committee meant to respond to a memo by that committee's Republican chairman released last week, with the White House instead suggesting revisions of sensitive sections before it is made available to the public.

In a letter to the committee, White House counsel Donald McGahn said, "although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time".

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

The intelligence committee voted unanimously Monday to release the Democrats' memo and send it to the White House, which had up to five days to review it and decide whether to stop it from becoming public.

But Democrats said the memo was a selectively edited set of Republican talking points aimed at distracting attention from the committee's own investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The GOP memo accuses law enforcement officials of relying heavily on uncorroborated allegations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia in applications to an intelligence court to surveil Page, whom authorities suspected at the time of being a Russian agent, arguing that the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele "formed an essential part" of the Page application in October of 2016.

Democrats last week warned Trump against using the Republican memo as a pretext to fire Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein, who hired Mueller and oversees the investigation, or to remove Mueller himself. So the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice put together an application to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court - a court that approves surveillance warrants pertaining to national security and foreign intelligence - to start watching Page.

"In order to rebut the errors, omissions and distortions in the Republican-drafted memo, we have included certain details beyond the revelations made public by the release of the majority's document", Schiff said. "Neither one endangers national security", said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI).

The Nunes memo was declassified and released without any redactions, and Trump saw the document as evidence that the investigation by DOJ special counsel Robert Mueller was politically motivated.

Congress could vote to overrule the president's decision, but such a move appears unlikely. Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

"The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that's harmful to him".

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