Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the Congressional Intelligence Committee, said that he will review the redactions recommended by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It instead instructed Democrats to work with the Justice Department to adjust the memo so that it could be released publicly.
One interpretation of events is that Trump, in a flagrant move, used his authority to declassify selective intelligence that could undercut the Russian Federation probe, then used it again to keep secret information that does the reverse. "And if we redacted it, then there would be an outcry that said the White House is trying to edit it".
The release of the memo was blocked by Trump on Friday, kicking off a new skirmish between Democrats and the White House.
"Although the president is inclined to declassify the February 5th memorandum, because the memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time", the letter from White House counsel Don McGahn to Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, reads. The White House also released a letter from the Justice Department, written at the request of the White House, confirming the existence of national security concerns. She added: "Clearly, the president has something to hide".
"Donald Trump's double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling", said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.
Trump pointed to the memo's contents to claim vindication in an ongoing probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's interference in the 2016 Presidential campaign and possible involvement by Trump campaign associates.
White House counsel Don McGahn II released a statement Friday stating Trump was "inclined" but "unable" to release the Democratic memo because it "contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages", according to Politico.
Democrats said that memo "cherry-picked" details.
Nunes has since conceded that the political nature of the material was included in a footnote - a fact confirmed in a letter released this week by two senior Republican senators. Short said on NBC's "Meet the Press".
Nunes said he would like to see the Democratic memo made public, as long as proper redactions are made.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, also a member of the Intelligence Committee, had called for the release of Democratic members' own memo earlier this month. The FBI expressed "grave concerns about material omissions of fact" in the Republic memo.
The surveillance warrant application itself remains under tight seal. There is no precedent for releasing such documents publicly. But it's hard to avoid the hypocrisy here of a White House that is now sending this memo back to the same committee that produced the flawed Nunes this memo.