Democrats, Pressured by Trump, Plan to Revise Rebuttal Memo


In a letter to the White House on Friday, top Justice Department and F.B.I. officials said they had law enforcement or national security concerns about declassifying parts of the Democratic memo. While Mr. Trump “is inclined to declassify” the document, the White House counsel said in a letter to the House committee, “he is unable to do so” until those passages are redacted.

Although the committee had voted to release the memo, Democrats now have little choice but to revise it to overcome the president’s objections, Mr. Himes said.

The F.B.I. had also warned against declassifying the Republican document, saying it had “grave concerns about material omissions” that made it misleading, but Mr. Trump overrode those concerns and declassified it on Feb. 2.

In a Saturday morning tweet, Mr. Trump accused the Democrats of deliberately drafting a “very political and long” document so that he would be forced to block its release. He said that it would “have to be heavily redacted” to protect “sources and methods (and more)” and that he had instructed the Democrats to “re-do and send back in proper form!”

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, said that Mr. Trump was unwilling to declassify information that would present a fairer picture of why the law enforcement officials believed they had probable cause to spy on Mr. Page for about a year.

“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,” Mr. Schiff said in a tweet.

The demand that the Democratic document be redacted ensures that the battle over the competing memorandums — which began three weeks ago — will drag on. Once the 10-page memo is amended, the Intelligence Committee would presumably need to vote again to release it. The president would then have another opportunity to review it and decide whether to declassify it.

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