World Media

Trump tweets about not declassifying Democratic memo

US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington US

The White House on Friday told Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee to redraft their rebuttal to a controversial GOP memo alleging government surveillance abuse during the 2016 campaign, saying sensitive details need to be stripped before it can be made public.

Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee on Monday sent its Democratic members' 10-page classified memo to Trump asking him to declassify it so it could be made public.

The Democrats have prepared a document in response to the release of the GOP memo that shed a light on the FBI's and the Justice Department's bias against Donald Trump in the first stages of the investigation of the alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

President Trump directed the Justice Dept. on February 9 to work with House lawmakers so some form of the document could be made public, the White House counsel said.

On Capitol Hill, partisan sparring over the release of the memos has marked a low point in relations between Republicans and Democrats on the traditionally bipartisan committee, with many members expecting that the panel's once-united Russian Federation investigation will likely end with dueling majority and minority reports.

Trump released the Nunes memo last week, which contained information purporting to show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ did not provide complete information when requesting a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant to watch one-time Trump campaign member Carter Page. They said they wrote their memo to correct the record and include what was omitted from the Republican document. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and has read the classified information both memos are based on, tweeted that Trump's blocking the memo is "hypocrisy at its worst".

The refusal to release the Democratic memo is another example of this White House creating a negative story for itself out of nothing because of the paranoid president's fear of transparency and facts. What if the manufactured brouhaha over the Democratic memo's release is really just for optics, to make Trump and the GOP look like they're hiding something?

Earlier this week, the House Intelligence Committee had approved the release of the Democrats' memo, giving President Trump five days to consider whether he should block publication for national security reasons.

President Trump declassified the Republican memo after it was revised to meet security objections, as well as objections by the Democrats. Trump told a Republican lawmaker after his State of the Union address January 30 that he would "100 percent" release the memo. The very fact that Nunes' memo was written - much less released - is hugely unprecedented.

Democrats said it mischaracterised highly sensitive classified information and was meant to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of potential collusion between Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian Federation.

The document also said opposition research, conducted by a British spy and funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign, formed a critical basis for the warrant.