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Trump slams rivals over memo

China Daily | Updated: 2018-02-12 16:03
US President Donald Trump pauses while speaking to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, Feb 9, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

President claims Democrats are playing politics in response to FBI row

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Saturday accused the Democrats of playing politics with classified information, asserting that their memo countering GOP allegations about the conduct of the FBI's Russia probe was a trap meant to "blame the White House for lack of transparency".

Citing national security concerns, the White House notified the House Intelligence Committee on Friday that the president was "unable" to declassify the Democratic memo.

White House counsel Don McGahn said in a letter to the committee that the memo contains "numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages" and asked the committee to revise it with the help of the Justice Department.

He said Trump was still "inclined" to release the memo in the interest of transparency if revisions are made.

Trump weighed in with a tweet on Saturday.

"The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency," he tweeted. The meaning of the "(and more)" was not immediately clear.

Trump urged the Democrats to "redo and send back in proper form!".

The president's rejection of the Democratic memo was in contrast to his enthusiastic embrace of releasing the Republican document, which accuses the FBI and Justice Department of abusing their surveillance powers in obtaining a secret warrant to monitor former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Even before reading the GOP document, Trump pledged to make it public and was overheard telling one congressman after the State of the Union address that he would "100 percent" put it out. It was published in full a week ago over the objections of the Justice Department.

The Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, California Representative Adam Schiff, criticized Trump for treating the two documents differently, saying the president is now seeking revisions by the same committee that produced the original Republican memo.

Still, Schiff said, Democrats "look forward to conferring with the agencies to determine how we can properly inform the American people about the misleading attack on law enforcement by the GOP."

He responded to Trump's tweet on Saturday with one of his own, writing "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."

Meanwhile, Trump said on Saturday that lives were being "shattered" by allegations that may be false after two of his White House aides quit over domestic abuse accusations.

Trump's White House has been heavily criticized for its handling of the allegations, which come amid a national debate over sexual misconduct and the #MeToo movement that has seen an avalanche of claims fell towering figures across various industries.

"Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation," Trump tweeted.

He added: "Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?"

The remark by the president came after White House speechwriter David Sorensen resigned on Friday while denying his former wife's claims of abuse.

And staff secretary Rob Porter stepped down on Wednesday after abuse allegations from two ex-wives became public that he too denied.

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