US President Donald Trump won't declassify the Democrats memo

Getty Images

Getty Images

A classified memo by congressional Democrats related to investigations of Russian influence in the 2016 United States presidential election is "very political and long" and must be "heavily redacted" before it could be released, President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Saturday.

Trump followed up with a tweet Saturday saying Democrats "knew, because of sources and methods (and more)" that it could not be declassified and released in full. By deciding not to release the Democrats' version and sending it back to the House Intelligence Committee for a possible rewrite, Trump is essentially refusing to release the memo while making it seem like he's open to the idea.

The Democrats' memo is a rebuttal to the GOP memo about surveillance of a former Trump campaign official is expected to be released soon. But congressional Democrats and Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Trey Gowdy, who helped draft the GOP memo, have said it shouldn't be used to undermine the special counsel. White House Counsel Don McGahn advised Nunes that the "Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity".

Late on Friday, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused Trump of "hypocrisy at its worst" in blocking, at least for now, release of the House Democrats' memo. The HIC chair Devin Nunes' Republical memo criticized the FBI's investigation into Trump's campaign adviser Carter Page.

"One week after he released the misleading and incomplete Nunes memo, President Trump tonight blocked the release of the Schiff memo that sought to fill in the holes".

"Any minor redactions should be made as quickly as possible and the memo should be released", she said.

The Democratic memo also says that the FBI had other legitimate evidence that prompted the investigation into possible links between Trump associates and Russian Federation.

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The memo by committee Republicans claimed bias against Trump by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department in the federal investigation of Russian Federation and the 2016 U.S. election.

Although Republicans eventually voted in favor of releasing the Democratic document after initially opposing it, their support for overriding the president to make public a document that is meant to undercut their own is another matter.

Still, Trump will have to withstand attacks from Democrats arguing he's a hypocrite. "However, given the public interest in transparency 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". They also noted that there was other evidence presented to the court besides Steele's information, though they have not provided details.

It does appear that the Democratic memo contains details that could be reasonably said to endanger national security.

Kelly said he had given FBI, DOJ and intelligence officials until Thursday to review the document.

The president had five days to render his decision.

"One week ago, the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation implored the White House not to release a deeply flawed and inaccurate memo prepared by Chairman Devin Nunes", Schiff said in his statement.

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