Trump blocks Democratic memo from Intelligence Committee

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

Trump blocks Democratic memo from Intelligence Committee

The Democratic memo, which the House Intelligence Committee voted to release last week, attempts to rebut and clarify the GOP memo.

The four-page document prepared by the Republicans sharply criticized the decision-making mechanism in the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which were allegedly biased in favor of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Presidential lawyer Donald F. McGhan II says the second memo "contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages" and should be revised. Late Friday, he vetoed the release of the Democratic memo, sending it back to the Intelligence Committee for revisions.

Mr Trump allowed the release of the earlier memo written by the committee's Republicans, escalating a campaign criticising current and former senior law enforcement officials. Trump told a Republican lawmaker after his State of the Union address January 30 that he would "100 percent" release the memo.

Both memos included classified information that the president had to agree could be released. "If they really wanted to get it out, they'd be down there all day yesterday redacting it, getting it back over to the White House so that the public can know what's in it".

The committee voted unanimously to release the memo on Monday, giving the president five days to determine whether to withhold the document on national security grounds.

The President's gambit is possible because the public has yet to see the details in the Democratic memo and so can not judge his motives. "Why won't the President put our country before his personal and political interests?" the California Democrat said.

If agreement cannot be reached, the Intelligence Committee can submit the memo to the full House for approval but that would require approval by the controlling Republican majority voting to overrule a sitting Republican president. The morning after the memo was released, the US president claimed it vindicated him from the investigations into ties between his 2016 election campaign and Russian Federation.

"Donald Trump's double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling", said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. "President Trump clearly doesn't want Americans to have access to the truth", Crowley said.

It is also a step further down the road of politicizing and weaponizing intelligence information.

President Trump himself has previously claimed the Nunes memo "totally vindicates" him in the ongoing probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA election.

"If the president really believes the Nunes memo vindicates him, as he has said, what is he hiding by blocking the Schiff memo?"

President Trump lamented that the "Democrats sent a very political and long response memo" which would have had to have been heavily redacted if released to the public.

In this case, by contrast, the White House wasn't almost so eager to commit to a memo's release and is now suggesting it is bowing to concerns from the very same federal law enforcement entities whose objections it disregarded last time.

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