Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said President Donald Trump is still “inclined” to release a memo by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee rebutting a Republican document that accused the FBI and Department of Justice of bias and improperly seeking surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser.
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“The president is inclined to declassify the memo," Conway told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday. But attorneys and experts who reviewed the memo think it reveals "sources and methods" that could harm national security. "So now it is going back to the Congress” for possible revisions to allow its release, she said.
The White House announced Friday that Trump would not at this time declassify the Democratic memo as he had the Republican document accusing the Justice Department of improperly seeking surveillance of former adviser Carter Page.
Trump’s decision was slammed by the House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, on Twitter: "After ignoring urging of FBI & DOJ not to release misleading [Republican] 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 ... memo to begin with."
Democrats "take seriously the concerns of the DOJ and FBI, which is why we both urged the Majority against this course in the first place and why we provided our document" to the intelligence agencies for vetting, Schiff said.
Conway said on "This Week" Sunday that the Democratic memo went through the same review by attorneys and the national security team as the Republican document.
White House Counsel Don McGahn said in a letter to the Intelligence Committee on Friday that the Democratic memo contained “classified and especially sensitive passages” that raised concerns from FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
McGahn invited the committee to revise the document to address national security concerns.
“The President encourages the Committee to undertake these efforts,” he said. “The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft ... for declassification at the earliest opportunity.”
Trump on Twitter on Saturday accused Democrats of deliberately producing a memo that could not be released publicly.
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