Dems' memo a political ploy

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes R-Calif. strides to a GOP conference joined at right by Rep. Peter King R-N.Y. also a member of the Intelligence Committee at the Capitol in Washington Tuesday Feb. 6 2018. (AP

White House counsel Don McGahn outlined the president's concerns in a letter, stating the memo "contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages".

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to make the memo authored by ranking Democrat Adam Schiff public earlier this week.

A day after the White House told House Democrats to edit an intelligence memo about the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections in order to remove sensitive intelligence materials, President Donald Trump accused Democrats of adding in too much classified information on objective, as Republicans said the President's critics were simply playing political games over the Russia investigation.

Republicans alleged that there was "clear evidence of [Mr Steele's] bias" against the President and that the former MI-6 officer had "anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations" since his fee for the memo was hired for by a research firm paid by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and opponent Hillary Clinton.

Democrats have been expected to use their memo to try to undermine Republican claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ relied heavily on the anti-Trump dossier to get a warrant to spy on a Trump associate - and omitted key information about the document's political funding.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Az.) said that he's in favor of releasing the Democratic memo countering the GOP document alleging that the Justice Department abused a surveillance program against a Trump campaign adviser. He said Trump is still "inclined" to release the memo in the interest of transparency if revisions are made.

Democrats had concerns with the GOP memo over sensitive information as well, but the president declassified that.

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However, the White House decision was criticised by Democrats - with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi claiming it proves that the release of the initial memo was a "blatantly political move".

That letter, along with the controversial memo that President Donald Trump cleared for release on February 2, is at the heart of a heated back-and-forth between Democrats and Republicans over Steele's credibility and his role in fueling the early stages of the FBI's Russian Federation investigation.

The Democrats slammed Trump for declining to give his consent to release the memo.

President Donald Trump will send the Democrats' rebuttal memorandum back to the House Intelligence Committee without releasing even a redacted version of it, according to news outlets. The same process is being followed here, at least as far as national security is concerned.

On Friday evening, the White House announced Trump was not ready to release the Democratic memo. "If the President really believes the Nunes memo vindicates him, as he has said, what is he hiding by blocking the Schiff memo?"

The probe into Russian meddling has cast a long and obstinate shadow on the Trump administration with four campaign and administration officials have been indicated on a variety of charges by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team that is conducting the FBI investigations.

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