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Trump blocks release of Democrats' memo

11 February 2018

A week after giving the green light to a memo written by Republicans in Congress which raised questions about the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Friday refused to release a rebuttal memo from Democrats, raising questions about details in the document.

Democrats knew their memo "would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency", Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

While Trump followed the same process with the February 2 GOP memo as he did with the February 5 Democrat memo, the press will likely see bias where only national security concerns exist.

McGahn said Trump has directed the Justice Department to offer assistance to the House committee to revise the Democrats' memo.

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Democrats warn this does not just amount to a double standard, but also reflects a pattern of attempts by the President to frustrate the investigation because he has something to hide.

Trump blocked the release of the document a week after quickly signing off on the release of a Republican memo - over the objections of the FBI - alleging abuses by the FBI and Department of Justice in the Russian Federation investigation.

The letter from White House Counsel Donald McGahn explained, "The Department [of Justice] has identified portions of the February 5th Memorandum the disclosure of which it believes would create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests". McGahn said Trump would reconsider the decision if certain changes were made to "mitigate the risks identified" by the Department of Justice. He called the Democrats' memo "very political" and "long".

"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. "This is hypocrisy at its worst", Feinstein said.

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"Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!" the president wrote. "The American people deserve the opportunity to read both memos". Last week we saw the declassified Republican memo. "It is 100 percent your responsibility to make sure this memo is able to be released". Notably, while some Republicans crossed party lines to support that version of the bill, the current top three House Republicans did not support it, and the current GOP Senate leadership cadre, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted against killing the filibuster that Democrats needed to beat to make the bill a law.

On Friday, the president met with FBI Director Christopher Wray, the principal associate deputy attorney general and the White House counsel's office to discuss the Democratic memo, according to the White House.

But concerns from the same agencies were cited by the White House to block the Democrats' memo that is likely to challenge the conveniently complimentary narrative in the Republican memo.

The memo itself, however, does not necessarily pertain to the Mueller investigation, contrary to claims made by GOP strategists and pundits.

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Trump blocks release of Democrats' memo