White House letter on Democratic memo

President Trump has delayed the release of a Democratic memo rebutting GOP claims that the FBI abused its surveillance authority as it investigated Russia's election meddling. Trump has directed the Justice Department to work with House lawmakers so some form of the document could be made public. Trump will not immediately release Democrats’ memo on FBI surveillance



February 9, 2018

The Honorable Devin Nunes

Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
United States Capitol

Washington, DC 205 15

Dear Mr. Chairman:

On February 2, 2018, the President declassi?ed a memorandum in response to a request by the
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (hereinafter ?the Committee?). I noted in
my letter conveying the declassi?ed memorandum to you that the Executive Branch would
continue to work with the Committee in connection with its present oversight activities to ensure
protection of intelligence sources and methods.

On February 5, 2018 the Committee voted to disclose publicly a second classi?ed memorandum
written by Committee members (the ?February 5th Memorandum?). As I previously explained,
the public release of classi?ed information by unilateral action of the Legislative Branch is
extremely rare and raises serious separation of powers concerns, as the Constitution vests the
President with the authority to control access to sensitive national security information. See, e. g.
Dep ?t of Navy v. Egan, 484 U. S. 518, 527 (1988). Accordingly, we are once again treating the
Committee? 5 actiOn as a request for declasSi?cation pursuant to the President?s constitutional

Consistent with the review of the previous memorandum, the President asked the Of?ce of the
Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice to assess the declassi?cation
request and provide him recommendations. The Department has identi?ed portions of the
February 5th Memorandum the disclosure of which it believes would create especially
signi?cant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests. The enclosed letter
from the Deputy Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
explains these determinations in greater detail.

Although the President is inclined to de'classify?the February 5th Memorandum, because the
Memorandum contains numerous properly classi?ed and especially sensitive passages, he is
unable to do so at this time. However, given the public interest in transparency in these
unprecedented circumstances, the President has directed that Justice Department personnel be
available to give technical asSistance to the Committee, should the Committee wish to revise the
February 5th Memorandum to mitigate the risks identi?ed by the Department. The President
encourages the Committee to undertake these efforts; The Executive Branch stands ready to

review any subsequent draft of the February 5th Memorandum for declassi?cation at the earliest



Donald F. McGahn II
Counsel to the President

cc: The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House of Representatives

The Honorable Adam Schiff
Ranking Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence


U.S. Department of Justice

DC 2053!)

February 9, 2018

Mr. Donald F. McGahn ll
Counsel to the President

The White House

1600 Avenue, NW
Washington. DC 20500-0003

Dear Mr. McGahn:

At your of?ce?s request, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) have reviewed the January 29. 2018 memorandum from the House
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Minority to all Members of the House of
Representatives. Specifically, you have asked us to identify the information about which DOJ
and the FBI would have national security or law enforcement concerns if released publicly.

Enclosed please ?nd a version of the document that identities, in highlighted text,
information the release of which would present such concerns in light of longstanding principles
regarding the protection of intelligence sources and methods, ongoing investigations, and other
similarly sensitive information. We have further identi?ed, in red boxes. the subset of such
information for which national security or law enforcement concerns are especially significant.
Our determinations have taken into account the information previously declassified by the
President as communicated in a letter to HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes dated February 2, 2018.



Rod J. enstein
Deputy ,ttorney General

Federal Bureau of nvestigation