Congress releases redacted, declassified Democratic memo


WASHINGTON

After weeks of discussions with the Justice Department, Democrats on the House intelligence committee released Saturday a classified memo that counters GOP allegations that the FBI abused U.S. government surveillance powers in its investigation into Russian election interference.

The release comes after weeks of back and forth over how much of the document would be redacted. The White House on Feb. 9 objected to its release, citing national-security concerns. That sent the Democrats back to negotiations with the FBI over how much of the memo needed to be blacked out.

President Donald Trump had no such concerns about an earlier classified memo written by Republicans, which he declassified Feb 2 over strong objections from the FBI. In that memo, Republicans took aim at the FBI and the Justice Department over the use of information from former British spy Christopher Steele in obtaining a secret warrant to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

The top Democrat on the intelligence panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, had criticized Trump for treating the two documents differently. But he still pledged to work with the FBI on redactions.

Trump has said the GOP memo “vindicates” him in the ongoing Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. But congressional Democrats and Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who helped draft the GOP memo, have said it shouldn’t be used to undermine the special counsel.

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