Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, quipped that the White House suddenly has a "newfound admiration for the FBI" after President Trump declined to release the memo prepared by Democratic members of the panel.
That being one week after Trump allowed the release of the GOP memo about alleged U.S. government surveillance abuses over the protestations of the Justice Department and FBI, Schiff explained during an interview with Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time."
"This week, though, the White House apparently has a newfound admiration for the FBI," Schiff said. "We wouldn't want to release anything that the FBI might be concerned about."
A couple hours earlier, in a letter transmitted to the House Intelligence Committee, White House counsel Donald McGahn said, though Trump was “inclined to declassify” the Democrats' rebuttal memo, he won’t be doing so because of national security reasons following a review by top spy and law enforcement officials, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
McGahn also said Trump directed the Justice Department to give “technical assistance” to the intelligence committee if they decide they want to “revise” the memo to “mitigate the risks identified," and that the White House is ready to review any new draft offered in the future.
Democrats say their 10-page memo provides much-needed context and details missing from the GOP memo.
In a statement after Trump's decision, Schiff decried what he viewed as a double standard and said Democrats on the House intel panel will "be reviewing the recommended redactions from DOJ and FBI," pointing to possible concerns over "sources and methods."