On the same day that Congress reaches a budget agreement President Trump has managed to make the deal story number two of the week. Instead the main story for the weekend and most likely throughout next week will be his decision to block the release of a classified Democratic memo. The reason behind this revelating decision is being cited as a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray that says they have identified portions of the Democratic memo that would raise national security or law enforcement concerns if released publicly.
In a letter to the committee, White House counsel Donald McGahn said, “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.” According to Politico, the Republican and Democrat memos are part of a much larger battle over the legitimacy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election meddling.
Just last Friday President Trump declassified the Republican-authored memo. This memo alleges misconduct by some senior FBI officials that are investigating Trump’s 2016 campaign. On Monday, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to declassify the 10-page Democratic memo, which aimed to counter the Republican document. Although President Trump reportedly met with Justice officials and White House lawyers Friday on the Democrats’ memo, the decision late Friday night to send the Democrats rebuttal to the Republican-authored memo back to the committee has obviously furiated Democrats and some Republicans.
Trump has reportedly directed the Justice Department to provide “technical assistance” to the House intelligence panel, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and other Democrats said Friday night that they would work with the Justice Department to address its concerns. Nunes released a statement late Friday, saying, “I had warned that the Democratic memo contains many sources and methods … it’s no surprise that these agencies recommended against publishing the memo without redactions.”
This story is still unfolding. More information to come.