President Donald Trump announced Friday night that he refuses to release the Democratic rebuttal of Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) memo alleging anti-Trump bias among the Justice Department and FBI’s highest ranks.
“Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time,” White House counsel Donald McGahn said Friday in a letter to the House Intelligence Committee.
Trump now requests revisions to the counter-memo, sending the rebuttal back to the committee.
“Given the public interest in transparency and in these unprecedented circumstances, the President has directed that Justice Department personnel be available to give technical assistance to the Committee, should the Committee wish to revise the February 5th Memorandum to mitigate the risks identified by the Department,” McGahn wrote.
BREAKING: President Trump will not release the Democrats' memo and requested for changes to be made before it can be released, according to a letter to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. pic.twitter.com/ZuCqgz8Fr2
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) February 10, 2018
Trump reiterated Saturday morning the need for revisions to the “very political and long response” memo.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top House Intel Democrat who Trump claimed is “one of the biggest liars and leakers” in DC, hit back at the irony in the President’s request for revisions when the White House approved publishing the Republicans’ “deeply flawed and inaccurate memo” without redactions.
After ignoring urging of FBI & DOJ not to release misleading Nunes memo because it omits material facts, @POTUS now expresses concerns over sharing precisely those facts with public and seeks to send it back to the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes memo to begin with: pic.twitter.com/qNVyS99eXs
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 10, 2018
Nunes argued, however, there’s “no surprise” that revisions are needed for the Democratic memo that “contains many sources and methods.”
“Schiff pledged to seek the input of the Department of Justice and FBI regarding the memo’s public release, and it’s no surprise that these agencies recommended against publishing the memo without redactions,” Nunes said in a statement Friday night. “Intelligence Committee Republicans encourage the minority to accept the DOJ’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.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove Nunes as House Intel chair over editing the controversial memo before sending it to the White House for review, said Trump’s refusal is “a stunningly brazen attempt to cover up the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal from the American people.”
“The President’s decision to block the Democratic memo from release is part of a dangerous and desperate pattern of cover-up on the part of the President. Clearly, the President has something to hide,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday night. “The U.S. intelligence community has concluded, and members of Trump’s cabinet agree, that the Russians interfered in our election and plan to do so again. America’s intelligence and national security are being politicized. Why won’t the President put our country before his personal and political interests?”
Trump’s refusal to declassify the Democrats’ rebuttal contradicts how he told reporters earlier Friday that it was going to “be released soon,” in line with the five days he was given to decide its fate after the House Intel voted unanimously Monday for its release.