Trump declines to approve release of Dem countermemo

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL freezes policy barring players from protesting during anthem McConnell spokesman on Putin visit: 'There is no invitation from Congress' Petition urges University of Virginia not to hire Marc Short MORE is not ready to approve the release of a Democratic memo meant to rebut a document he declassified last week that was authored by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, the White House announced.
 
White House counsel Don McGahn wrote a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes used political donations for K in NBA tickets, winery tours, Vegas trips: report Russia raises problems for GOP candidates GOP lawmaker regrets appearing on Alex Jones's radio show MORE (R-Calif.) explaining that “although the president is inclined to declassify” the Democratic memo, the administration believes it would create “especially significant concerns” for “national security and law enforcement interests.”
 
Trump’s legal team insists that it came to that conclusion at the behest of senior officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In a separate letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinRosenstein warns of growing cyber threat from Russia, other foreign actors Opinion: One FBI text message in Russia probe that should alarm every American Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray, McGahn highlighted the information the White House says it believes is problematic and should not be released.
 
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The White House said it would work with the House Intelligence Committee if it wants to revise the Democratic memo and resubmit it for declassification.

“The president encourages the Committee to undertake these efforts,” the letter states. “The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the Feb. 5th memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity.”

The House panel voted earlier this week to make public the 10-page Democratic memo, authored by Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Officials pressed on Russian interference at security forum | FCC accuses Sinclair of deception | Microsoft reveals Russia tried to hack three 2018 candidates | Trump backs Google in fight with EU | Comcast gives up on Fox bid Top intel chief: I don't know what Trump, Putin discussed in meeting White House: Trump 'disagrees' with Putin's request to question Americans MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, after Trump declassified a four-page Republican memo last week alleging that officials at the FBI and DOJ had abused their powers to spy on a Trump campaign official.

The White House declassified the Republican memo over the objections of the FBI and the DOJ.

The GOP memo said that law enforcement officials shielded from surveillance courts their reliance on the so-called Steele dossier, which was funded in part by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, when they sought a warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Democrats said that memo was cherry-picked and did not tell the full story of how the FBI and DOJ obtained the warrant.
 
Democrats argue that there was ample evidence to spy on Page and that the applications given to the spy court included much more information than just what was in the disputed dossier.
 
The Democrats were expected to provide evidence backing up their claims in the memo the Intelligence Committee voted to make public but that the White House is refusing to declassify.

Democrats reacted with fury over the White House’s decision to block the release of their memo.

“The President’s double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans Judge Kavanaugh confounds the left This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) said. “The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that’s harmful to him. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?”
 

Updated: 8:52 p.m.