Trump hasn't read documents he ordered declassified

Geraldine Edwards
September 21, 2018

"In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russian Federation investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr", the statement concludes.

USA intelligence officials were "blindsided by President Donald Trump's order that they make public highly sensitive files in the Russian Federation investigation" and are "hoping the White House will allow them to conduct a formal declassification review and damage assessment before they are forced to release the documents, current and former officials tell NBC News", the story states in the first paragraph. Democrats criticized the effort, saying the GOP lawmakers were trying to discredit the Justice Department in an effort to protect Trump from Mueller's investigation.

Various U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, National Security Agency and FBI, have investigated him for alleged contact he had with Russian officials under U.S. sanctions.

Trump told The Hill website Tuesday that he hasn't read the documents he ordered declassified.

"I wrote this book because the president's attacks on me symbolize his destructive effect on the country as a whole", McCabe said in a statement issued through St. Martin's.

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Haley said an amended version was submitted last week that removed evidence of Russian actors violating sanctions. In August, Trump requested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancel a diplomatic visit to Pyongyang over the issue.

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.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY, the ranking Democrats on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, said in a statement that Trump's actions were a "direct and frantic response" to Mr. Manafort's recent guilty plea and cooperation agreement with Mr. Mueller.

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.

The White House on Monday evening announced that Trump would declassify a portion of a secret surveillance warrant application and also direct the Justice Department to release text messages and documents involving several top Justice Department and FBI officials whom he has attacked over the past year, including former FBI Director James Comey.

In July the administration released the previously classified warrant application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2016 seeking permission to surveil Page's communications.

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The applications are detailed enough to convince a court that surveillance is appropriate, Kris said, so concern that information from them could be disclosed could "strain the system".

The FBI had previously released a heavily redacted version of the Page FISA application back in July.

The other 18 pages appear to relate to information the government submitted that came from former British spy Christopher Steele before the presidential election. The documents were sent to the "wrong person", ABC's sources said, and the documents sat untouched in the field office for weeks, as counterintelligence officials in D.C. began looking into former Trump campaign associate Carter Page and chairman Paul Manafort.

Another Republican, North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows tweeted, "Transparency wins".

Trump has consistently said some in the FBI and Justice Department are biased and tainting the independent investigation into whether his campaign collaborated with Russian Federation to swing the 2016 election in his favor.

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His spokesperson Taylor Foy did not immediately return a request for comment Monday on whether Thursday's vote will take place. Kavanaugh was seen Monday morning arriving at the White House, which has stood by the judge in the face of the accusations.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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