The White House told Democratic lawmakers on Feb. 9 to rewrite their rebuttal memo regarding the Russia investigation, saying that the document involves certain redactions before it can be made public.
White House Counsel Don McGahn said President Trump is “still inclined” to release the memo if the revisions are induce.
The day after the memo's release was halted, Trump tweeted that the document is “very political.”
“The Democrat sent a very political and long response memoranda which they knew, because of sources and methods( and more ), ought to have been heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper sort! ” he wrote.
Earlier this month, Trump made public a memo written by Republican on the committee that detailed alleged surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department in its investigated by Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump has stirred controversy with his assertion that the memoranda “totally vindicates” him of any wrongdoing.
The House Intelligence Committee approved the release of the rebuttal, devoting Trump five days to decide whether to declassify it. Here’s what to look for if he does.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said he is wary that Trump could induce redactions in the document for “political purposes.”
However, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, has said the memo contains information that he would be “uncomfortable” about assuring released without redaction by the White House.
‘Bolster’ FBI credibility
The original memo said ex-British snoop Christopher Steele’s controversial dossier- a 35 -page document compiled for the firm Fusion GPS– was the catalyst for a surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page, a former foreign consultant to Trump.
The surveillance warrant and renewals did not mention that the dossier was paid for, at the least in part, by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign for Hillary Clinton, according to the memoranda spearheaded by Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
But Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif ., told Fox News the Democrats’ document “bolsters” the FBI’s credibility in the Russia probe. He said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was given a “voluminous amount” of proof to procure the warrant to spy on Page.
Contradict Nunes’ memo
Swalwell also said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court was aware of the “likely political motivation” behind the dossier- a direct contradiction of what the Republicans’ memo detailed.
“The court weighed that and still granted the application, ” Swalwell said. “There was a bias, but the evidence was so overwhelming, the application was granted anyway.”
Schiff said his party’s memo will “help inform the public of the many aberrations and inaccuracies in the majority memo.”
Further politicization of the probe
The Democrats’ memo is largely seen as a rebuttal to last week’s document, furthering the partisan divide on the House Intelligence Committee.
The committee unanimously voted to release the Democrats’ rebuttal, but expect heavy scrutiny of it from some Republicans. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla ., has already said the memo is not accurate for “a million different reasons, ” Politico reported.
Review by FBI and DOJ
The Democrats’ memo has been shared with the FBI and Justice- something Republicans did not do before releasing their document, Schiff said, according to Politico.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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