After Republicans of the House Intelligence Committee released a declassified outlining FBI abuses of the FISA court system to spy on the Trump campaign and transition team, Democrats on the committee countered with talk of a memo of their own.
They demanded their memo be released to the public as well. Pretty much everybody else agreed it should be released, provided it didn’t contained classified information or reveal intelligence-gathering sources and methods that required redaction — so it was sent along to the White House for final approval from the appropriate parts of the executive branch.
But there were many realistically cynical Republicans who suspected the Democrats were only using their memo as a political ploy and would pack it full of classified info that would have to be redacted, which in turn would allow Democrats to claim that President Donald Trump was censoring them and not being fully transparent.
And that turned out to be exactly what happened, according to The Daily Caller, as the White House announced over the weekend it had sent the memo back to the Democrats to be reworked and edited prior to public release.
A Trump Twitter post over the weekend explained the whole scam.
The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
“The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!” the tweet stated.
Ahead of Trump’s tweet, two letters were also released that explained why the memo couldn’t be declassified in an unredacted form at this time — one from White House legal counsel Don McGahn and one to McGahn from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The letter from Rosenstein and Wray noted that the Democrat memo had been reviewed by the appropriate entities, and problematic portions containing information detrimental to national security and law enforcement concerns had been highlighted and duly notated for redaction.
McGahn released that letter along with his own which stated that although “the president is inclined to declassify” the Democrat memo, he was unable to do so as the memo contained “numerous properly classified and extremely sensitive passages.”
Instead of simply killing the Democrats’ memo, Trump sent it back to them with instructions to revise it.
Furthermore, he also ordered the Justice Department to provide the Democrats with whatever assistance they needed in order to prepare an acceptable version of the memo for public release, if they still wished to do so.
Should the Democrats proceed with a revised version of the memo that doesn’t require heavy redaction of classified and sensitive information, the White House stands ready to review and release it forthwith.
As was suspected by some, the Intel committee Democrats decided to play politics with their memo and purposefully packed it full of information they knew couldn’t be declassified and released — all so they could claim that Trump was attempting to hide things from the public.
Trump’s White House was expecting that gambit though, and declined to fully play into the hands of Democrats.
It will be interesting to see how the Democrats proceed from here, now that their hand has been exposed. Hopefully, they will simply revise their memo into an acceptable form so it can be released publicly and we can all move along.
Please share this on Facebook and Twitter so everyone can see what Trump had to say about why he refused to release a heavily redacted version of the House Intelligence Committee Democrat memo.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.