President Donald Trump protected his decision not to liberate the Democratic rebuttal of a Republican memo that alleged bias and misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department early in their investigations conducted by Russian election interference, saying on Twitter that the document was ” very political .”
” The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods( and more ), “wouldve been” heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of clarity ,” Trump said in a tweet.” Told them to re-do and send back in proper form !”
The memo’s author, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, fired back.” Mr. President, what you call’ political’ are actually called facts, and your concern for sources and methods would be more convincing if you hadn’t decided to liberate the GOP memo (” 100% “) before read it and over the objections of the FBI ,” the California lawmaker said on Twitter.
Trump was unable to release the memo because it contained” numerous properly classified and sensitive passageways, White House counsel Donald McGahn said late Friday. In a letter to Republican Representative Devin Nunes of California, president of the House Intelligence Committee, McGahn said the Justice Department concluded that portions of the memoranda were highly sensitive.
Trump would consider releasing the document if changes were induced “to mitigate the risks” identified by the Department of National Intelligence and Justice Department of releasing those sensitive components, McGahn wrote.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, explosion Trump’s decision.
” The president’s doubled standard when it comes to transparency is appalling ,” he said in a statement late Friday.” The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, clarity, fades when it could show information that’s harmful to him .”
Schiff, the panel’s top Democrat, said that Trump was treating the 10 -page document differently from the four-page Republican version commissioned by Nunes that was released last week. He said the committee would review the concerns expressed by the FBI and Justice Department.
” After dismissing urge of FBI& DOJ not to release misleading Nunes memo because it omits substance realities, @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.
Nunes said in a statement that” Intelligence Committee Republicans encourage the minority to accept the DOJ’s recommendations and construct the appropriate technical changes and redactions so that no sources and methods are disclosed and their memoranda can be declassified as soon as is practicable .”
The decision to block the Democratic memoranda is a political risk for Trump, who claimed the Republican-authored version upheld his claims of unfair political affect in investigations at the Justice Department. He approved the release of the GOP memo over the dissents of FBI Director Christopher Wray, according to person or persons familiar with the matter.
Schiff had submitted the memoranda to the FBI and Justice Department so they could vet it for sensitive information.
The White House liberated a letter from Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that said they have given details to the intelligence panel about which portions of the Democratic memoranda are too sensitive to release.
The decision to completely block the memo’s freeing — rather than redact particular excerpts objected to by law enforcement and intelligence agencies — could commit further ammunition to critics who say the president is politicizing the process.
Already, the White House was grappling with the sense the original Republican document had done little to change the narrative on the Russia investigation, which has proven a chronic issue during Trump’s first year in agency. In a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, 56 percent of Americans said they recognized Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian participation in the 2016 election as fair — down merely three points from the previous month.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have several options. They could accept Trump’s offer for help from the Justice Department to scrub the memoranda of sensitive datum. Under the obscure rule the panel is using to liberate both memoes, known as Rule X, they could also call for a vote on liberating it over the dissents of the president. But that would require the purposes of Republicans on the panel.
The dueling memos both examine the descents of the Russia inquiry, including how the FBI procured a surveillance warrant for Carter Page, a low-level Trump campaign adviser. Much of the underlying indication, including the warrant application, remain classified.
Schiff’s memo challenges a Republican assertion that the FBI based its surveillance application almost entirely on an unverified dossier paid for by Trump’s political opponents, including Hillary Clinton, and that it kept the dossier’s origins from the court that approved the warrant. Democrat say the court was informed that a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who assembled the dossier, was politically motivated.
The Democratic memoranda also says that the FBI had other legitimate evidence that prompted the inquiry into possible links between Trump associates and Russia.
The rebuttal was the latest Democratic volley against a Republican assault on the legitimacy of the government’s Russia investigation. Schiff and other Democrats say the Republican are trying to undermine the Mueller inquiry.
House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, an Intelligence Committee member who wrote the Republican memo, stated earlier this week on Fox News that Democrats may have intentionally included categorized or sensitive knowledge in their rebuttal.
” I guess the Democrat are politically smart enough to threw things in the memo that require either the bureau or the Department of Justice to say it needs to be redacted. Therefore, it creates this belief that there’s something being disguised from the American people ,” Gowdy said.
In response, Schiff told Bloomberg News,” That’s their spin ,” referring to Republican. He said of his memoranda,” It defines the context. And there’s a lot we left out .”
” So, I’m not surprised they would like to see some omitted from our response ,” he added.
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