The White House has delayed the release of a Democratic memo on the government surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor, saying that it contains sensitive information that would compromise national security.
In a letter sent Friday evening to the House Intelligence Committee, White House Counsel Donald McGahn said that Trump was “inclined to declassify” the Democrats’ 10-page document but was holding back because of requested redactions from the Justice Department and the FBI.
“Given the public interest in transparency in these unprecedented circumstances,” the administration said Justice Department officials would consult with the committee on releasing a new version, McGahn wrote.
The decision came after FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein sent a letter to the White House pointing out specific parts of the Democratic memo they said might compromise national security or intelligence sources.
The letter says they enclosed a version of the memo, which was not released, marked to highlight information they thought could endanger “protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations and other similarly sensitive information.”
The decision seems likely to exacerbate a deepening partisan divide on the House Intelligence Committee over the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible cooperation with a Russian scheme to interfere in the 2016 election.
Led by the chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare, Republicans on the committee have devoted much of their focus to questioning decisions made by the FBI and Justice Department during the investigation.
Over the objections of the FBI and Justice Department, Republicans on Feb. 2 released a memo that criticized investigators’ actions in obtaining a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant on Carter Page, a onetime Trump campaign advisor with ties to Russian officials.