The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday President Trump blocked release of a rebuttal memo contesting GOP claims of surveillance abuse because the document guts Trump's claim of Russia-probe vindication.
"What's really going on here is that the president doesn't want the public to see the underlying facts," Rep. Adam Schiff of California said on CBS's "Face the Nation."
"What is revealed in our memo are quotations from the actual [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] application that really demonstrate just how misleading the Republicans have been," Schiff said. "The president doesn't want you to see the facts from the FISA application because it completely undermines his claim of vindication."
Trump refused to allow release of the 10-page Democratic rebuttal on Friday after allowing release one week earlier of a three-and-a-half-page memo by committee Republicans alleging the FBI concealed the political origins of opposition research used to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Trump cited the objection of the FBI and Justice Department to disclosure of "sources and methods" and tweeted Saturday the committee's vote to release the rebuttal set him up for the appearance of a double standard on transparency.
Trump allowed release of the Republican memo over strenuous FBI objections. The bureau said "we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy."
Schiff said Democrats on the intelligence committee are "going to sit down with the FBI and go over any concerns they have" before presenting another draft for Trump's approval.
Members of Congress have immunity from prosecution if they release classified information without presidential approval during official proceedings, but rarely make use of the constitutional privilege.