Pressure From Trump May Lead to Revision of Democratic Memo

President Trump said a memo drafted by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee would have to be heavily redacted to protect “sources and methods (and more).”

WASHINGTON — Under pressure from President Trump, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee plan to redact a memo defending the F.B.I.’s surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide to resolve Mr. Trump’s complaint that the document disclosed highly sensitive information, a Democrat on the committee said Saturday.

But the Democrat, Jim Himes of Connecticut, accused Mr. Trump of hypocrisy in demanding changes to the document, echoing a grievance leveled by other Democrats on the committee. Mr. Himes noted that the president had declassified the contents of a rival Republican memo, based on the same underlying documents, that criticized the F.B.I.’s behavior despite vigorous objections from both the bureau and the Justice Department.

“There is just no way that man will allow the release of information that shows that the Nunes memo is just plain wrong,” Mr. Himes said in an interview, referring to the Republican memo drafted by aides to Devin Nunes, Republican of California and the committee’s chairman.

Both memos address the F.B.I.’s justification for seeking a secret court warrant in October 2016 to eavesdrop on the former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page, who was suspected of being an agent of Russia.

Republicans claim that F.B.I. and Justice Department officials seriously misled the court by failing to disclose that they were partly relying on research that had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Democrats are seeking to rebut those charges by declassifying other information in the application for the 90-day warrant, which was approved and renewed by the court three times.

In a letter to the White House on Friday, top Justice Department and F.B.I. officials said they had law enforcement or national security concerns about declassifying parts of the Democratic memo. While Mr. Trump “is inclined to declassify” the document, the White House counsel said in a letter to the House committee, “he is unable to do so” until those passages are redacted.

Although the committee had voted to release the memo, Democrats now have little choice but to revise it to overcome the president’s objections, Mr. Himes said.

The F.B.I. had also warned against declassifying the Republican document, saying it had “grave concerns about material omissions” that made it misleading, but Mr. Trump overrode those concerns and declassified it on Feb. 2.

In a Saturday morning tweet, Mr. Trump accused the Democrats of deliberately drafting a “very political and long” document so that he would be forced to block its release. He said that it would “have to be heavily redacted” to protect “sources and methods (and more)” and that he had instructed the Democrats to “re-do and send back in proper form!”

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, said that Mr. Trump was unwilling to declassify information that would present a fairer picture of why the law enforcement officials believed they had probable cause to spy on Mr. Page for about a year.

“Mr. President, what you call ‘political’ are actually called facts, and your concern for sources and methods would be more convincing if you hadn’t decided to release the GOP memo (“100%”) before reading it and over the objections of the FBI,” Mr. Schiff said in a tweet.

The demand that the Democratic document be redacted ensures that the battle over the competing memorandums — which began three weeks ago — will drag on. Once the 10-page memo is amended, the Intelligence Committee would presumably need to vote again to release it. The president would then have another opportunity to review it and decide whether to declassify it.

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