White House Could Request Redactions to Protect Trump From Democratic Memo, Schiff Says

The White House could request that information embarrassing to President Donald Trump be redacted from a Democratic memo connected to the Russia investigation, Representative Adam Schiff warned Tuesday. 

The California Democrat said his biggest concern about the memo's potential release would be "political redactions."

"That is, not redactions to protect sources or methods, which we’ve asked the Department of Justice and the FBI to do, but redactions to remove information they think is unfavorable to the president," Schiff told CNN Tuesday. "That could be a real problem, and that's our main concern at this point.”

890971002 Representative Adam Schiff says he's concerned about "political redactions" to a Democratic memo connected to the Russia investigation. Getty Images

The Democratic memo is a rebuttal to a controversial GOP memo that was released last Friday by the House Intelligence Committee. The Republican memo was compiled by the committee's Republican chairman, Devin Nunes. It claimed that the FBI and Justice Department had relied heavily on unverified information compiled in a dossier by a former British intelligence officer when they sought to renew a court warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign. 

The Nunes memo was not redacted, causing concern among Democrats that sensitive information was being released. 

The notorious Christopher Steele dossier contains salacious allegations about Trump—including claims that he had been cultivated by Russia for years. The dossier also contains verified information about Page’s contacts with Russia during the 2016 campaign. For example, the dossier claimed that Page met with Russian energy industry officials during a 2016 visit to Russia, which Page himself later confirmed. 

Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has argued that the GOP memo contained “cherry-picked” information that does not give a complete picture of the surveillance application.  

Democrats say the GOP memo was meant to damage the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the presidential election. They also say there were legitimate reasons apart from the dossier for the government to wiretap Page. The FBI says that important information had been omitted from the GOP memo and that there were “grave concerns” about its accuracy.

The House voted unanimously on Monday to release the Democratic memo, which is said to provide further context for the GOP document. The White House now has five days to review the Democratic memo and decide whether its release would constitute a threat to national security.

Democrats say it is unlikely that the White House will try to impede the release of the Democratic memo after it advocated so strongly for the release of the GOP document. But the White House could request that information from the Democrats' memo be redacted.

Schiff said Democrats would have “limited recourse” if important passages were redacted from their memo. But they could seek a declassification review from the FBI and Justice Department so the document could be released in its entirety, he noted.

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