February 18, 2019

Trump's block of a memo is a block of checks and balances

12 February 2018, 12:07 | Devin Moran

Trump administration halts release of Dems' memo rebutting GOP claims of FBI surveillance

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

The Republican memo, written by intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., details alleged Justice Department surveillance abuses concerning Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Trump claimed the original memo "totally vindicated" him in his role in attempts to thwart the special counsel's investigation of the matter but investigators and even Republicans say it shows more illegal involvement in it.

President Donald Trump has accused the Democrats of playing politics with classified information, asserting that their memo countering GOP allegations about the conduct of the FBI's Russian Federation probe is a trap meant to "blame the White House for lack of transparency".

"Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!" he wrote.

Trump okayed the release of the Nunes memo last week. Republicans backed the release, but several said they thought it should be redacted.

Mueller is also investigating whether Trump has committed obstruction of justice in trying to impede the Russian Federation probe.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., accused Trump of obstructing justice by releasing one document and refusing to disclose another.

In a letter to the House Intelligence Committee, White House Counsel Donald McGahn said although the President is "inclined to declassify" the Democratic memo, he is "unable to do so at this time" because it contains "numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages".

The Intelligence Committee had voted unanimously on Monday to release the document drafted by the panel's Democrats, contingent on the Republican president agreeing.

Trump, after overriding the FBI's rare public remonstration that the GOP memo contained "material omissions of fact", is now posing as a sober guardian of classified information. Democrats hope Trump's low popularity in public opinion polls will help them win majorities, and some analysts give them a good chance. "President Trump clearly doesn't want Americans to have access to the truth", Crowley said. Nonetheless, the Democrats on the committee will confer with the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to "determine how we can properly inform the American people about the misleading attack on law enforcement by the GOP and address any concerns over sources and methods". The GOP memo notes how the department obtained a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order to wiretap Page. It was published in full a week ago over the objections of the Justice Department.

He went on to ridicule what he characterized as the contents of the Democrats' rebuttal memo.

The Nunes memo is four pages long. Ryan also said he thought the Democratic document should be released.

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.

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