President Trump took to Twitter Saturday morning to defend his decision not to declassify a memo written by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee in response to a GOP memo the president declassified for release last week. He called the Democrats’ memo “very political” and “long.” It is 10 pages, while the GOP memo is four pages.
Mr Trump also claimed Democrats knew their memo could not be released in its current form because it would reveal “sources and methods,” forcing the White House not to support its release.
Mr. Trump asked the committee to review the Democratic memo and, with the help of Justice Department officials, work on a revised version.
White House counsel Don McGahn said in a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes Friday night that the president would not declassify the Democratic memo over national security concerns, even though the FBI warned against the release of the GOP memo over the same concerns.
The GOP memo attempts to make the case that surveillance warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) were authorized against former Trump campaign official Carter Page because of an unverified and politicized dossier about Donald Trump’s alleged connections to Russia, authored by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The Democratic memo, which the House Intelligence Committee voted to release last week, attempts to rebut and clarify the GOP memo. The White House also released a letter from the Justice Department, written at the request of the White House, confirming the existence of national security concerns.
The full House could still vote to release the Democratic memo in its current form. But without the president’s support, that seems less likely.
Rep. Adam Schiff, R-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said, “After promising to treat the Democratic response in precisely the same way (as the GOP memo), the White House now seeks to have the Democratic memo sent back to committee and revised by the same majority that produced the flawed Nunes document to begin with.”
Even some Republicans supported the release of the Democratic memo. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, tweeted Friday night that he has seen both memos, neither jeopardize national security, and the Democratic memo should be released just like the Republican one was.