Trump blocks release of Democrats' FBI Russia intelligence memo

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff said on CNN Tuesday that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's names were'masked in the controversial FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page

President Trump will not declassify the memo from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee as it now is written, the White House announced in a letter Friday night.

"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", the letter says.

"The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that's harmful to him", the six-term New Yorker said in a statement, referring to Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of California. 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 White House released a letter from Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that said they have given details to the intelligence panel about which portions of the Democratic memo are too sensitive to release. He claimed, incorrectly, that the Republican memo had vindicated him in the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.

Trump and Republicans on the committee have pointed to the GOP memo to argue anti-Trump bias on the part of some law enforcement agencies.

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.

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

Earlier this week, the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Democratic memo.

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In a statement Friday, Feinstein, a Democrat from California, called the Republicans' memo "misleading" and said she had read the underlying intelligence documents on which both memos were based.

Democrats have said that the GOP memo cherry-picked information.

President Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he wants Democratic lawmakers to "re-do" a classified memo about government surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor before it is released. Schiff said the comparison will help to expose any material blacked out for political purposes or to hide embarrassing or damaging information about the president and his associates.

"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".

The document in question was authored by Democrats on the intelligence panel. Mr Trump authorised its release anyway.

The minority memo describes in greater detail why law enforcement officials wanted to conduct surveillance on Page beyond the information contained in the Steele dossier, according to sources familiar with the document.

One interpretation of events is that Trump, in a flagrant move, used his authority to declassify selective intelligence that could undercut the Russian Federation probe, then used it again to keep secret information that does the reverse.

"The Democratic response sets out the material facts that were necessary for the public to see that the Federal Bureau of Investigation acted properly in seeking a FISA warrant on Carter Page", Schiff said. "Therefore, it creates this belief that there's something being hidden from the American people", Gowdy said.

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