Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Prez Trump blocks release of memo on Russian probe

Prez Trump blocks release of memo on Russian probe

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.

However, the White House yesterday confirmed that President Trump will not declassify the document in its current form.

"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".

"After ignoring urging of FBI & DOJ not to release misleading Nunes memo because it omits material facts, @POTUS now expresses concerns over sharing precisely those facts with public and seeks to send it back to the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes memo to begin with", Schiff tweeted late Friday.

However, the White House decision was criticised by Democrats - with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi claiming it proves that the release of the initial memo was a "blatantly political move".

It's not yet clear whether enough Republicans would vote in favor of the memo's release.

Schiff said the Grassley memo was "part of the same effort" to thwart claims of Russian collusion against Trump by putting the government "on trial".

In this case, by contrast, the White House wasn't almost so eager to commit to a memo's release and is now suggesting it is bowing to concerns from the very same federal law enforcement entities whose objections it disregarded last time.

In his letter, McGahn said that Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, Christopher A. Wray, had identified portions of the memo for which they had "significant concerns".

After Schiff challenged Trump's claim, the president lashed out on Twitter, calling him "Little Adam Schiff" and accusing him, without presenting any evidence, of leaving "closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information".

Trump overrode strong Justice Department objections when he declassified a Republican memo alleging an abuse of surveillance powers in the FBI's Russian Federation investigation. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quickly sent out a statement, "what is he hiding?"

Nunes, during an appearance on Fox's "Sunday Morning Futures," blamed Democrats for packing their memo full of "sources and methods" - critical information about how the committee recruits sources and uncovers information.

House Republicans who have seen the document had said portions will nearly certainly have to be redacted to protect intelligence sources and methods. It is 10 pages, while the GOP memo is four pages.

Trump said earlier Friday he planned to release the memo. "Neither one endangers national security".

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