A classified memo compiled by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, in response to the memo released by HIC Chairman Devin Nunes, was not authorized for release by President Donald Trump because it puts American lives at risk, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News Monday.
“This Democratic memo does not keep American lives safe it reveals serious national security information that could quite frankly put our lives at risk, and the president is not going to do that,” Gidley stated.
Republicans say the memo reveals abuses of government surveillance powers in the investigation into alleged collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
Democrats say the document is misleading and is intended as a smokescreen to divert attention from the special counsel’s Russia probe.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., claimed Nunes “secretly altered” his version of the memo before he sent it to the White House for review.
In a letter to Nunes, Schiff wrote that “material changes” were made to the four-page classified document that members of Congress were able to read before the GOP-led House Intelligence Committee voted along party lines to release it.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said earlier this week that Schiff may have purposely included classified or sensitive information in his memo.
“I think the Democrats are politically smart enough to put things in the memo that require either the [FBI] or the Department of Justice to say it needs to be redacted. Therefore, it creates this belief that there’s something being hidden from the American people,” Gowdy, also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News.
“Unfortunately, we are in an environment where you would include material that you know has to be redacted and you know responsible people are going to redact just so that questions will be asked,” Gowdy added.
The White House told Congress Friday Trump would not release the Democratic memo.
“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.”
However, the White House will permit the FBI to provide technical assistance to Democrats to produce a memo that doesn’t include sensitive or classified information.
“The Executive Branch stands ready to review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassification at the earliest opportunity,” White House counsel Don McGahn said.