A week after giving the green light to a memo written by Republicans in Congress which raised questions about the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Friday refused to release a rebuttal memo from Democrats, raising questions about details in the document.
“Although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time,” wrote White House Counsel Donald McGahn.
“The hypocrisy is on full display,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “What does the President have to hide?”
The letter from McGahn said that Democrats could try to rewrite the memo, and go through the same submission process, followed by another review by the White House.
Democrats in Congress were not pleased with the decision.
“Donald Trump’s double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
“Refusal to release Democratic response to Nunes Memo – evidence of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump happening in real time,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
“Americans deserve the truth and this only raises more red flags,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).
One House Republican said the President had made the wrong move.
“I’ve read both memos. Neither one endangers national security,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). “The American people deserve the opportunity to read both memos.”
“The fact that the President is only interested in “transparency” when he thinks it “totally vindicates Trump” speaks volumes,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation into the Russian meddling, and whether there were any ties to the Trump Campaign.
Several things can happen now – Democrats can work out an agreement with the FBI and the Department of Justice and make changes in the memo – but there is no guarantee that the document will be made public.
“Blocking its release, and not the Republican one, is clearly a partisan move to muddy the facts, deceive the American public, and distract from Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.