UPDATE — 2/24, 4:33 p.m. EST: On Saturday, President Trump approved the declassification of the House intelligence committee’s Democratic memo with redactions that counters a similar document documenting alleged FBI political bias during the 2016 presidential campaign.
According to the memo written by ranking member Adam Schiff, the FBI’s application to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page included information about intelligence gathered by a former British spy who was commissioned by research firm Fusion GPS, paid for in-part with DNC funds.
A copy of the 10-page memo can be found here (PDF).
The Trump administration expressed a willingness to release a classified Democratic memo if the House intelligence committee makes necessary redactions to allay concerns raised by the Justice Department.
The House Committee on Intelligence had voted unanimously to make the document public on Monday, Feb. 5. After undergoing a review, however, President Trump blocked its release citing national security concerns.
“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,” read a letter to the committee from White House counsel Donald McGahn.
McGahn went on to say the Justice Department was prepared to assist House Democrats to rewrite the memo.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee’s ranking member, accused the president of partisanship and hypocrisy for blocking the memo and defended the document’s accuracy, but said he and fellow Democrats on the panel would cooperate with Justice Department officials.
“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 said on Twitter.
Explaining his response to the memo, Trump tweeted the following:
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
House Democrats wrote the 10-page memo as a reply to a GOP brief released one week ago. The Republican memo alleges federal investigators abused an application for a secret warrant to surveil Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.
The surveillance application relied on, in part, research produced by D.C.-based firm Fusion GPS and former British intelligence official Christopher Steele, who conducted opposition research funded by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, the DNC and the Washington Free Beacon.
The GOP memo states investigators failed to acknowledge the basis for the application rested on unsubstantiated information.
In contrast, the Schiff memo is believed to provide a greater context justifying the application for a warrant.
[Reuters] [Roll Call] [Bloomberg] [CNN] [Business Insider] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via CNN]