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Trump declines to approve release of Dem countermemo

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation 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 NunesJuan Williams: Trump, the Great Destroyer The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy Senate Dem: Trump's 'fake, hyperbolic rantings' an insult to real Medal of Honor recipients 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 RosensteinConservative rep slams Rosenstein's 'conflicts of interest' The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Trump, Obama head to swing states with Senate majority in balance Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week 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 SchiffTrump calls Saudi explanation for journalist's death credible, arrests 'good first step' Schiff: If Khashoggi was fighting in consulate he was fighting 'for his life' Maxine Waters gets company in new GOP line of attack 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 ClintonRepublicans bail on Coffman to invest in Miami seat Katy Perry praises Taylor Swift for diving into politics Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue 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 SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers 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.