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White House officials expect Trump to OK Dem memo barring national security threat

Officials in the West Wing expect President ...

Posted: Feb. 7, 2018 9:31 PM
Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 9:31 PM

Officials in the West Wing expect President Donald Trump will authorize the release of the Democratic memo by Friday unless there is a grave threat to national security, CNN has learned.

The 10-page memo landed on the President's desk Monday after the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously-to make it public. Trump has until Friday to decide whether to allow the document to be made public or object to its release.

The Democratic memo is expected to directly undercut allegations of FBI and Justice Department abuses leveled in a controversial Republican memo Trump cleared for release last week.

As the Democratic memo undergoes the review process at the White House, the understanding is that Trump will authorize the release of it unless there is a serious national security threat that would hinder its release.

White House chief of staff John Kelly said Tuesday that he instructed all the parties involved -- such as the Justice Department and the FBI -- to make their recommendations regarding the memo's release by Thursday. It will then be up to the President to make a final decision.

Though Kelly said the administration is not leaning in a certain direction regarding the memo, one White House aide told CNN there is an unspoken agreement that it will reflect poorly on the administration if the Republican memo gets released while the Democratic one does not.

The question now, according to a separate official, is less about whether or not the memo will be released and more about what will be redacted from it.

"The President has seen the memo," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the briefing Tuesday.

"He met with the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein within the last hour to discuss some of the differences between the two memos," she said. "And we are undergoing the exact same process that we did with the previous memo in which we will go through a full and thorough legal and national security review. We are in the middle of the process."

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democrat who drafted the memo, said he is concerned the White House will make political redactions. The memo was written to push back against the central allegations of the Republican memo from House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, which was released Friday and alleges the FBI abused the FISA process in obtaining a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

"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 said on CNN. "That could be a real problem, and that's our main concern at this point."

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