Trump refuses to declassify Democratic response to GOP Russia memo

Who Is Christopher Steele?

Who Is Christopher Steele?

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".

Trump called the memo "very political and long" in a tweet on Saturday and said he told Democrats "to re-do".

On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted about the back-and-forth, implying Democrats purposefully filled their memo with details that would need redaction so they could then turn around and blame him when he declined to declassify and release it as originally drafted.

The White House announces it will not move forward with releasing the Democrat memo, unless certain changes are made.

It was not immediately clear what recourse Democrats might seek against the president's decision to hold up the release of their memo.

Adam Schiff, who wrote the second memo, said at the time that Republicans had "found themselves in an insupportable position when they released a misleading memo and refused to release the Democratic response".

His refusal to block the second memo, unanimously approved for release by the GOP-controlled House Intelligence Committee, just a week after allowing the Nunes memo to go public. Whatever the case, Trump, who declared last weekend that the GOP memo "totally vindicates" him, is losing support from his own party as he elevates the rhetoric against the FBI and DOJ, which are overseeing the special counsel investigation into Russian Federation and Trump's actions before and after he became president.


Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, spearheaded the memo. Schiff said the comparison will help to expose any material blacked out for political purposes or to hide embarrassing or damaging information about the president and his associates. Former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, who had sat on the Intelligence Committee, decried "the partisan nature of this report". It instead instructed Democrats to work with the Justice Department to adjust the memo so that it could be released publicly.

That memo - the Republican one - gets released, unchanged, to the American public.

In declining to declassify the document, the White House also sent lawmakers a letter signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Wray, as well as a marked-up copy of the memo, laying out portions it considers too sensitive to make public.

SCHIFF: No. Precisely my point is we should have never put out the flawed memo to begin with.

But the Federal Bureau of Investigation has attested to Steele's reliability based on his previous reporting of foreign intelligence to the U.S. government as a former investigator, according to a declassified version of a letter Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley and committee member Lindsey Graham, both Republicans, wrote in January.

The President said the document "totally vindicates" him in the Russian Federation investigation, a claim disputed by Democrats and some Republicans.

Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, is the author of the Trump-Russia dossier. Trump authorised its release anyway.

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