President Donald Trump told media members in the Oval Office on Friday that the White House was weighing its options on whether to release the Democratic' formal response to a Repblican memo alleging misconduct by top FBI officials and Justice Department. On Saturday, he asked the Democrats "to redo" the memo. Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 10 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Saturday said Democrats must "redo" their response to a Republican memo alleging misconduct by top FBI and Justice Department officials before he approves its release -- saying their original version is "very political."
On Friday, Trump blocked releasing the House Intelligence Committee Democrats' response to a Republican memo that was released unredacted one week earlier despite objections by the Justice Department and FBI. Trump said the GOP memo "totally vindicates 'Trump' in [the] probe" of possible collusion between Russian agents and Trump staffers during the 2016 presidential election.
On Saturday morning, he explained why he won't approve the release yet, posting on Twitter: "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!"
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the intelligence panel and the memo author, responded to Trump's Twitter post.
"Mr. President, what you call 'political' are actually called facts, and your concern for sources and methods would be more convincing if you hadn't decided to release the GOP memo ("100%") before reading it and over the objections of the FBI," Schiff posted on Twitter.
Earlier this week, the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to make the Democratic memo public.
Because the memos contain classified information, the president must approve their release. The full House of Representatives could vote to overrule the president.
"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 wrote in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.
McGahn's statement included a letter from FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that identifies "information for which national security or law enforcement concerns are especially significant."
"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," Schiff tweeted Friday.
Committee Democrats said their 10-page rebuttal corrects errors in the three-and-a-half-page Republican memo and adds context to actions of the FBI and the Justice Department.
The Republican memo, written by intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., details alleged Justice Department surveillance abuses concerning Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.