Trump slams Dems over Russia memo, tells them to re-do it
Sheetal Sukhija - Sunday 11th February, 2018
Trump wrote on Twitter that he wants Democratic lawmakers to re-do the memo
The ten-page memo has been written by Democratic minority members of the House Intelligence committee
The documents aims to refute Republican claims the FBI surveillance of Carter Page was politically motivated
WASHINGTON, U.S. - On Saturday, rejecting the Democratic rebuttal of the accusations made by the GOP in a controversial memo last week, U.S. President Donald Trump asked the Democrats to ‘re-do’ their ‘very political and long’ document.
The President had, last week, championed the public release of the controversial GOP memo, that alleges that the Justice Department and the FBI abused their surveillance authority.
He later, even claimed that the memo "totally vindicates" him - even though several experts and even some prominent Republicans did not concur with the President.
The four-page GOP memo alleges that the Justice Department abused its powers by obtaining a warrant for surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page using information from a source who was biased against Trump.
Democrats however, called the memo misleading and pushed for a committee vote on releasing their rebuttal to the GOP memo, which passed and then reached the President’s desk.
Democrats argued that the GOP memo contains cherry-picked claims to undermine the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow.
They further raised concerns that the GOP memo's release is being used to lay the groundwork for the eventual firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Now, making the decision on the release of the ten-page rebuttal memo written by Democratic minority members of the House Intelligence Committee, Trump blocked the public release of the classified document.
He wrote on Twitter, “The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!”
White House Counsel Don McGahn said that Trump was "inclined" but “unable” to declassify the ten-page memo because it "contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.”
McGahn also pointed out 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.
However, the House of Representatives can still vote to release the memo despite Trump’s action, which could set the stage for a partisan brawl in the House next week.
Responding furiously to Trump’s decision, Democrats called it proof that Republicans are exploiting classified information for political ends.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted, "The hypocrisy is on full display. What does the President have to hide?"
Meanwhile, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), said in a statement that the Democratic memo could still be released after the redaction of sensitive passages flagged by Wray and Rosenstein.
Nunes said, "Intelligence Committee Republicans encourage the minority to accept the [Justice Department’s] recommendations and make the appropriate technical changes and redactions so that no sources and methods are disclosed and their memo can be declassified as soon as possible.”
Further, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and other Democrats said that they would work with the Justice Department to address its concerns.
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