Trump won't declassify Democrats' memo, citing national security concerns

A now declassified memo put together by the staff of Rep. Devin Nunes a Republican from California has been the source of a heated debate around the country

President Trump will not declassify the memo from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee as it now is written, the White House announced in a letter Friday night.

President Trump declassified the Republican memo after it was revised to meet security objections, as well as objections by the Democrats.

That would allow them, he said, to "blame the White House for lack of transparency".

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. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion.

FBI chief Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a separate letter indicated that releasing this material would present concerns for the "protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations and other similarly sensitive information". Rosenstein is now overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether there was any connection between Russians and Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign. The Intelligence Committee has the option to vote again to decide whether to refer the disclosure to the House, which will then have its own vote on whether to release their 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.

The president later said the Republican memo, released by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., "totally vindicates" Trump from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation.

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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". In retrospect, it looks as though the White House prepared the ground for his decision by saying all week that he was of a mind to release the memo - dampening expectations that his motivations were political.

That memo sought to argue that law enforcement had abused its surveillance capabilities in the monitoring of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. They say the GOP memo, led by chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is designed as a distraction from the probe, which is looking into whether Trump's campaign was in any way connected to the Russian interference.

"Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!" the president said in a tweet. The Democratic memo is thought to elaborate on those points.

It does appear that the Democratic memo contains details that could be reasonably said to endanger national security. They can make all kinds of outlandish claims about what the memo means, including claims that the wrongdoing is so severe that the entire investigation must be abandoned.

Pelosi called Trump's refusal to release the memo "a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people".

Trump was "inclined to declassify" the memo, McGahn suggested, but not until sensitive passages were omitted.

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