Democrats Erupt After Trump Blocks Rebuttal Memo

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes R-Calif. strides to a GOP conference joined at right by Rep. Peter King R-N.Y. also a member of the Intelligence Committee at the Capitol in Washington Tuesday Feb. 6 2018. (AP

Democrats Erupt After Trump Blocks Rebuttal Memo

The story emerged the same day that the White House, citing national security concerns, formally notified the House intelligence committee that Trump is "unable" to declassify a memo drafted by Democrats that counters GOP allegations about abuse of government surveillance powers in the FBI's Russian Federation probe.

In a letter Friday to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the committee chair who penned the controversial Republican memo alleging misconduct by federal law enforcement, White House counsel Don McGahn said that releasing the Democratic rebuttal presents "significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests".

President Donald Trump is promoting a conservative argument that he's been "victimized" by the Obama administration through its allegedly flawed application for a surveillance warrant on a former campaign foreign policy adviser.

The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously earlier this week to release the Democratic report.

In response, a memo was prepared by Democrats that reportedly contests and further details the claims made by Republicans. But more than that, Trump will have to bat down charges he made a decision to keep the memo secret to hide the fact that the GOP document was widely derided as partisan spin.

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He finished the tweet by saying that he told them to rewrite it and send it back to him.

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short blasted Schiff's initial push to publish the Democratic memo in an interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press".

"We're all at more risk today than we were last week (before the Nunes memo came out)", Arena said.

Although Republicans eventually voted in favor of releasing the Democratic document after initially opposing it, their support for overriding the president to make public a document that is meant to undercut their own is another matter.

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The dossier was used by the government to persuade the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to issue warrants for wiretapping Carter Page, a former volunteer Trump campaign aide who worked briefly on the election effort.

However, the White House decision was criticised by Democrats - with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi claiming it proves that the release of the initial memo was a "blatantly political move".

"Beyond that, I think there will be a tendency now to think: 'Should I even put this down in writing?' " said McDaniel, associate dean at Western Michigan University's Cooley Law School, and an expert in homeland and national security law.

"Blocking its release, and not the Republican one, is clearly a partisan move to muddy the facts, deceive the American public, and distract from Special Counsel Mueller's Russian Federation investigation", said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), a member of the House Intelligence Committee. Rather, it claimed that there were "omissions" from the memo that it would like to see filled in.

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