Democrats raged at what they view to be a double standard by President Trump for declining to release the memo prepared by Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democratic member of the panel, said: "It looks like more obstructive behavior from the president." He appeared on CNN on Friday moments after the White House made the announcement.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the move "appalling" and suggested Trump has something to hide.
“The President’s double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling," Schumer said in a statement. "The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that’s harmful to him. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted Trump's decision was "blatantly political move made without concern for national security. The hypocrisy is on full display."
In a letter transmitted to the House Intelligence Committee late Friday, White House counsel Donald McGahn said though President Trump was “inclined to declassify” the 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.
Swalwell, D-Calif., said he would "wait and see" until next week for Justice Department to offer an explanation for what happened.
Swalwell said this was something the Republicans chose not to do for their memo, which was released to the public last week with Trump's blessing, adding that the intelligence community, unlike with the GOP memo, did not publicly object to the release of the Democrats' memo.
The GOP memo talked about alleged abuses by top DOJ and FBI officials in the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against members of the Trump campaign. Trump OK'ed its unredacted release despite protests from Democrats, DOJ, and the FBI. Democrats say their 10-page memo is supposed to add much-needed context and details missing from the GOP memo.
The Democratic memo was spearheaded by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. — the committee’s top Democrat — to rebut to a memo released by the committee last week.
Tweeting out a lengthy statement Friday evening, he said: "After ignoring urging of FBI & DOJ not to release misleading Nunes memo because it omits material facts, @POTUS now expresses concerns over sharing precisely those facts with public and seeks to send it back to the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes memo to begin with."
After ignoring urging of FBI & DOJ not to release misleading Nunes memo because it omits material facts, @POTUS now expresses concerns over sharing precisely those facts with public and seeks to send it back to the same Majority that produced the flawed Nunes memo to begin with: pic.twitter.com/qNVyS99eXs— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 10, 2018
"If they do have objections, I think we should look at them and determine whether or not, in the context of what has already been released, we should allow the full memo to go out," Swalwell said.
Swalwell also said he expects House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to act similarly to how he did before Trump released the GOP memo.
"If these are just political edits, then I expect Devin Nunes to stand on the House floor and ask his colleagues to do what he asked us in the committee, which is to release the memo to the public," Swalwell said. "That would be consistent."
Like with the GOP memo, Nunes could ask the full House to take up a vote and override the president's decision.
McGahn wrote Friday that 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 look review any new draft offered in the future.