President Trump refuses to release Democratic memo on Russian Federation probe

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The House Intelligence Committee committee unanimously voted Monday to release the Democrats' rebuttal, sending that memo to the White House for a five-day review.

The decision stands in contrast to one Trump made last week on a Republican memo alleging the Federal Bureau of Investigation misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to obtain a warrant to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.

McGahn wrote that Trump had directed the Justice Department to provide "technical assistance" to the House intelligence panel should it wish to "revise" the document for possible release.

The White House included a letter signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray that says they have identified portions of the Democratic memo that would raise national security or law enforcement concerns if released publicly.

Trump is "inclined" to declassify the memo, but is "unable to do so at this time", says the letter, adding that the committee should work with the Department of Justice to revise the memo to mitigate the risks to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence.

He said Trump was still "inclined" to release the memo in the interest of transparency if revisions are made.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and other Democrats said Friday night that they would work with the Justice Department to address its concerns. Democrats said the Republican memo mischaracterised highly sensitive classified information and was meant to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of potential collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation.

"Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5 Memorandum, because the memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time", McGahn said in a letter to Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House panel.

This week, the panel agreed to greenlight the release of the Democratic response, starting the review process that continues now.

Feinstein's memo was meant to rebut a criminal referral recently delivered to the Department of Justice by two of her Republican colleagues, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (Iowa) and panel member Sen.

Trump's objection puts the committee in uncharted waters, as the committee used an obscure rule that had never been invoked before to vote to release both memos.

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It isn't clear yet how much of the Democrats' countermemo might become public or when, but Kelly said that he expected an answer by the end of the day on Thursday.

The White House informed this on Friday and said the Democratic memo contained several classified passages.

The individual in question is Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who had already left Team Trump by the time the FISA court approved the wiretap.

That could set the stage for Democrats to accuse Trump of abandoning the White House's earlier support for transparency and, specifically, of hiding things to protect the president in the Russian Federation matter.

The Republican document asserted that a dossier of alleged Trump-Russia contacts compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and funded in part by US Democrats, formed an "essential part" of requests to a special court to be allowed to conduct electronic surveillance on Page, an oil industry consultant with numerous contacts in Russia, that began in October 2016.

On Capitol Hill, partisan sparring over the release of the memos has marked a low point in relations between Republicans and Democrats on the traditionally bipartisan committee, with many members expecting that the panel's once-united Russian Federation investigation will likely end with dueling majority and minority reports.

"This memo totally vindicates "Trump" in probe", the president tweeted Saturday.

The president's rejection of the Democratic memo is in contrast to his enthusiastic embrace of releasing the Republican document, which he pledged before reading to make public.

However, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other prominent Republicans in Congress say the Nunes memo is separate from the Mueller investigation and should not be seen as an attempt to undermine Mueller.

Democratic Representative Ted Lieu wrote on Twitter that Trump's action was outrageous, adding that he read the memo and is convinced that Trump "is now intentionally hiding relevant information from the American people in order to mislead the public".

"I'm not surprised", said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., in a statement.

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