Agreement near on Democrats' Russia memo: Schiff

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member on the House Intelligence Committee, arrives to watch U.S. President Donald Trump deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are “very close” to reaching agreement with the FBI and Department of Justice on redactions to a memo that seeks to rebut assertions of bias in the probe of U.S. President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the panel’s top Democrat said on Friday.

“I think we’re very close to reaching agreement on it,” Representative Adam Schiff said during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank. “I think we resolve that very soon, so we can release this.”

Trump on Feb. 9 blocked release of the classified memorandum. On Twitter the next day, he said the document was “very political and long” and must be “heavily redacted” to protect sensitive information.

Trump earlier cleared the release of a memo drafted by Intelligence Committee Republicans that alleged partisan bias in the securing of an electronic surveillance warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The president did so despite opposition from the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Democrats said the Republican document mischaracterized highly classified information and was intended to discredit the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

“I hope we never go down this memo path again,” Schiff said of the process. “I think my colleagues in the GOP recognize it was a big mistake.”

Reporting by Warren Strobel editing by Jonathan Oatis