Trump blocks release of Democratic memo responding to Republican claims

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Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and author of the memo, also slammed Trump's "double standard".

Schiff, who has traded bitter Twitter messages with the president after Trump called him one of "the biggest liars and leakers" in Washington, warned this week that Trump might call for "political edits" meant to erase embarrassing parts of the memo, not information related to national security.

In declining to declassify the document, the White House also sent lawmakers a letter signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, as well as a marked-up copy of the memo, laying out portions it considers too sensitive to make public. The longer he drags out his fight to block the Democratic memo, the more people will question why he is trying so hard to hide it.

While the Nunes memo is 4 pages long, people who have read it told NPR's Philip Ewing that the Schiff memo is 10 pages and contains many footnotes meant to rebut arguments made by the GOP document.

The head of the House committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who produced the GOP memo, encouraged Democrats to accept the Justice Department's recommendations and "make the appropriate technical changes and redactions".

The FBI had previously issued a highly unusual warning against releasing the memo from Republican Nunes, saying it could jeopardize USA intelligence collection methods.

Mr. Trump claimed in a tweet on Saturday that Democrats laid a trap with their 10-page memo, deliberately adding classified material that they knew "would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency".

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"The Executive branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity", McGahn also wrote in the letter.

"The President doesn't want you to see these facts from the FISA application because it completely undermines his claim of vindication", Schiff said.

The Intercept reported that the operation created rifts in the CIA, which is led by Trump loyalist Mike Pompeo but has many staffers still smarting over the president's repeated harsh comments about the intelligence community's role in the investigation into Russian meddling.

Democrats have since expressed outrage, with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer saying, "Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?" But without the president's support, that seems less likely.

They joined other Trump administration critics in calling the release of the Republican document an effort to undermine the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible links between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation, as well as possible obstruction of justice.

A Russian promising to turn over stolen hacking tools and compromising information on President Donald Trump fleeced American spies for $100,000 a year ago, The New York Times reported Friday. Republicans have seized on the Steele dossier because he was commissioned by the political research firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Schiff said he would, but again criticized Trump, saying the New Yorker "doesn't want the public to see the underlying facts" and is trying to "put the Federal Bureau of Investigation. on trial". Trump told a Republican lawmaker after his State of the Union address January 30 that he would "100 percent" release the memo.