WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump will not declassify a memo compiled by Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee until it is revised to mitigate sensitive information, the White House said Friday night.
In a letter to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the committee’s Republican Chair, White House Counsel Don McGahn said that the Justice Department identified portions that would “create significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests.”
McGahn notes that the President is ultimately “inclined” to release the memo and urges the committee to make the necessary changes.
In a separate letter, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray provided the White House with an annotated copy of the memo outlining what they said should be addressed.
McGahn said Justice Department personnel will be made available to provide technical assistance to the committee.
The Democratic memo is expected to refute a collection of claims compiled by Nunes’ office in a separate memo declassified without redactions by the President last Friday.
The Republican memo claimed that the FBI and DOJ relied on an anti-Trump dossier prepared by a security firm with ties to a law firm said to be connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign to serve as the primary legal justification for the surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The FBI said in a rare public statement that the bureau had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
On Monday, the Committee voted unanimously to make the Democratic memo public.
McGahn said the President is prepared to review the memo again once the revisions were completed.
The memo’s author, Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), expressed disapproval with the White House’s decision to send the document back to the Committee.
“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 in a statement. 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.”
Nunes defended the decision to send the memo back to the Committee.
“Along with other Intelligence Committee Republicans, I had warned that the Democratic memo contains many sources and methods,” Nunes said in a statement. “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.”