House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) has provided further clarification about why the Trump White House won’t release the memo drafted by top Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA). At least not yet.
“Ranking Member Schiff pledged to seek the input of the Department of Justice and FBI regarding the memo’s public release, and it’s no surprise that these agencies recommended against publishing the memo without redactions,” Nunes said, as reported by The Hill.
Nunes recommended that Democrats on the committee make “the appropriate technical changes and redactions” to the memo corresponding to the advisement of the Justice Department, “so that no sources and methods are disclosed and their memo can be declassified as soon as possible.”
Nunes also echoed the assessment cited in the White House letter to Adam Schiff declining the immediate release of the Democrats’ response memo that “many sources and methods” stated in the document could jeopardize U.S. national security and law enforcement assets.
White House counsel Don McGahn laid out the reasons for declining the memo as it stood in a letter to Schiff.
“Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th [Democratic] Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time,” McGahn wrote. “However, given the public interest in transparency in these unprecedented circumstances, the President has directed that Justice Department personnel be available to give technical assistance to the Committee, should the Committee wish to revise the February 5th Memorandum to mitigate the risks identified by the Department.”
“The Executive branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity,”the letter concluded.
Rep. Schiff issued his own statement in response to the White House decision.
“The Democratic response sets out the material facts that were necessary for the public to see that the FBI acted properly in seeking a FISA warrant on Carter Page,” Schiff said. “After promising to treat the Democratic response in precisely the same way, the White House now seeks to have the Democratic memo sent back to committee and revised by the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes document to begin with.”