Trump orders declassification of Russian Federation probe documents

Posted September 21, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump is declassifying a trove of documents related to the early days of the FBI's Russian Federation investigation, including portions of a secret surveillance warrant and former FBI director James Comey's text messages.

That includes the surveillance authorization documents concerning the bureau's wiretap of Trump campaign advisor Carter Page as well as former FBI Director James Comey's text messages.

President Trump has ordered the immediate declassification of several documents relating to the 2016 FBI investigation of his campaign, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Monday evening.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he's not concerned about what his former campaign chairman is telling investigators in the Russian Federation probe.

Trump's demands mark his latest effort to turn up the heat on the Justice Department, whom he and his Republican allies have accused of running a tainted probe into Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

"[Trump] 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", Schiff said.

Both the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department issued statements late Monday saying they were working to comply with the order but had to review the documents first, "to ensure the safety of America's national security interests".

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

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In comments later at the White House, the president said he wants "total transparency", returning to his usual refrain that the Russian Federation investigation is a "witch hunt".

The move, which has prompted renewed unease about the increasing politicization of intelligence materials, is likely to further inflame tensions between the President and intelligence and law enforcement officials, who have been the target of presidential Twitter tirades and who have voiced concerns in the past about potentially jeopardizing sources and methods.

Page admitted earlier this summer, that investigators, led by her then-paramour Strzok, had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin after more than nine months of investigating. "They were recycling old information".

"Be careful what you wish for", Warner said.

According to the statement, Trump declassified 21 pages of the 101-page June 2017 application to renew a warrant obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016.

In previewing his declassification order, Trump tweeted Monday: "Immediately after Comey's firing Peter Strzok texted to his lover, Lisa Page 'We need to Open the case we've been waiting on now while Andy (McCabe, also fired) is acting".

Trump's decision alarmed national security experts, who cautioned that the declassification of some of the material Trump wants released could endanger the lives of confidential sources and harm the US' relationship with its foreign allies.

But since that time, certain House Republicans have called for the public release of specific pages, even though they have acknowledged they are not sure whether the documents will help or hurt their arguments about alleged improper conduct in the probe.

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