Trump orders declassification of Russian Federation probe documents

Aaron Brown
September 21, 2018

Some of the documents and text messages ordered for declassification have been previously released with redactions.

The president also told the DOJ to declassify reports tied to its interview with official Bruce Ohr, whose wife worked at the opposition-research firm behind an infamous and unverified dossier of dirt on then-candidate Trump. "Big stuff!" Trump wrote on his Twitter account early Tuesday. But in this case, he said the President has the unilateral authority to declassify.

When asked Tuesday whether he would declassify other documents relating to the Russian Federation investigation Trump only responded: "We're gonna see".

In March 2017, before news of the FISA warrant became public, Carter Page sent a letter to the Senate intelligence committee saying he may have been wiretapped during the time he spent at Trump Tower for the campaign.

Burr previously broke with his House Intelligence Committee counterparts after they released a memo with details on the Page FISA.

The disclosures were unprecedented given that surveillance warrants obtained from the secret court are highly classified and are not meant to be publicly disclosed, including to defendants preparing for or awaiting trial.

President Trump Monday ordered the declassification of several key documents related to the FBI's probe of Russian actions during the 2016 presidential election, including an application for a renewed surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and text messages from disgraced Federal Bureau of Investigation figures Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Those departments have since said they have begun a declassification review of the materials. Monday's declassification order covers 21 pages of a 101-page June 2017 application to renew the warrant - the last of four filed by the Justice Department.

They believe that the FISA court incorrectly allowed the surveillance on the basis of the material in the dossier. His communications were monitored for almost a year starting in October 2016.

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William Banks, a Syracuse University national security expert, said that by making the information public, Trump is essentially overruling the decisions of career officials intent on keeping it from foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups and other adversaries.

Mueller's team is investigating possible links between Trump's campaign team and Russians who sought to interfere in the 2016 election.

In addition, Trump has ordered the Department of Justice, including the FBI, to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russian Federation investigation from five people: Comey, Ohr and former FBI officials Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted Monday, "Transparency wins".

"The danger (is that) decisions such as this, especially if they might appear to be politically motivated, suggest that the U.S. Government can't be trusted to keep its own secrets", said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"President Trump, in a clear abuse of power, has chose to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative", Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement that also raised concerns about the possibility that intelligence sources and methods could be compromised by the release ordered by Trump.

It also pointed out that the "directive matched, page for page, the documents [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin] Nunes and other Republicans said they had been seeking".

But Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump's move has nothing to do with uncovering the truth about the Russian Federation investigation.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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