President Donald Trump, putting partisanship above transparency and his duties as a president, blocked release of a Democratic memo that corrects the errors, misinformation and outright lies of the one he approved — Devlin Nunes original memo on materials from the investigation of Russian meddling of the 2016 election.
His refusal to block the second memo, unanimously approved for release by the GOP-controlled House Intelligence Committee, just a week after allowing the Nunes memo to go public.
Trump claimed the original memo “totally vindicated” him in his role in attempts to thwart the special counsel’s investigation of the matter but investigators and even Republicans say it shows more illegal involvement in it.
Presidential lawyer Donald F. McGhan II says the second memo “contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages” and should be revised. Members of the Intelligence Committee say the sensitive passages are those that show Trump’s illegal role in trying to block the investigation.
Democrats, of course, are outraged.
“Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence Committee voted UNANIMOUSLY to release the memo,” tweeted Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama, a member of the committee. She added Trump “is not interesting in transparency, he is interested in protecting himself and derailing the Russia investigation.”
California Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, said the memo, which he wrote, was vetted by both the FBI and Justice Department before release. Both agencies had asked Trump and the Committee to not release the original memo.
“We will be reviewing the recommended act redactions from DOJ and FBI, which those agencies shared with the White House and look forward to conferring with the agencies to determine how we can properly inform the American people about the misleading attack on law enforcement by the GOP and address any concerns over sources and memos,” Schiff said in a statement.
Nunes also supports Trump’s decision to block Schiff’s memo even though he wanted to release his original one.
“Intelligence Committee Republicans encourage the minority to accept the DOJ’s recommendations and make te appropriate technical changes and redactions so that no sources and methods are disclosed and their memo can be declassified as soone as possible,” Nunes said.
McGhann says Trump is “inclined” to approve release of the memo is the changes are made.
If agreement cannot be reached, the Intelligence Committee can submit the memo to the full House for approval but that would require approval by the controlling Republican majority voting to overrule a sitting Republican president.
Asked Sen. Chuck Schumer, ranking Democratic member of the Senate, about Trump’s decision to withhold approval: Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: “What is he hiding.”
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