Trump orders release of classified documents in Russian Federation investigation

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 18, 2018

President Donald Trump on Monday declassified a trove of documents related to the early days of the FBI's Russian Federation investigation, including a portion of a secret surveillance warrant application and former FBI Director James Comey's text messages.

The move was confirmed in a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. Like the president, they have accused the Justice Department of hiding information they say would be damaging to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe of Russian interference.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that McCabe's forthcoming memoir, already titled "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump", will recount "a series of troubling, contradictory, and often freakish conversations" McCabe reportedly had with "Trump and other high officials that led him to believe the 'actions of this President and his administration undermine the FBI and the entire intelligence community'".

Democrats and former national security officials have said Trump's directive is a risky one - threatening to undermine an investigation of his own campaign and potentially revealing confidential law enforcement sources.

The unredacted portions of the first FISA application spell out in stark terms the FBI's suspicions that Page was being recruited by the Russians to secretly act as their agent as they sought to "undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 USA presidential election". "It is increasingly clear it was the Obama Administration who politicized the DOJ/FBI, not the Trump Administration", he tweeted Monday.

Trump specified that the text messages must be released "without redaction".

Trump also ordered the public release of texts messages sent by former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as well as Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

According to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, we will soon find out.

Much is already known about the Carter Page warrant and the Strzok/Page relationship through previous texts, documents and memos, but the release should provide much more detail.

But one source familiar with the process, speaking on condition of anonymity, said neither the Justice Department nor the Federal Bureau of Investigation had any idea how the declassification process was supposed to work in this case - suggesting Trump's order had taken them by surprise.

The June 2017 application was the last of four filed by the Justice Department in support of FISA court orders allowing the monitoring of Page.

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

But Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, quickly denounced Trump's move, calling it a "clear abuse of power" to "advance a false narrative".

They also appear to concern a dossier of unverified information on Russian financial and personal links to Trump and his associates that was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

"With the walls clearly closing in on him, President Trump is lashing out with this extraordinarily reckless and irresponsible release of classified information in a desperate attempt to distract from the seven guilty pleas and the mounting evidence of multiple criminal enterprises among his closest advisors", they said.

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