In an unprecedented move that stunned current and former intelligence officials, President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the public release of highly classified documents and text messages related to the FBI investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russian Federation.
President Donald Trump on Monday directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice to declassify a number of documents related to the Russian Federation investigation.
"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", the congressmen said in a statement. But this is the first time a president has released information about an ongoing investigation into members of his campaign and administration over the objections of intelligence officials. Those are all people Trump has criticized as out to get him. All had Top Secret clearances granting them access to sensitive government secrets.
Trump's directive caught intelligence agencies off-guard, and it remained unclear Monday whether national security professionals would have any opportunity to challenge any aspect of the decision.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D.
But Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, called Trump's decision a "clear abuse of power" meant to advance a "false narrative" to help in his defense from Mueller's probe.
The president has the authority to declassify any secret in the government, but experts could not recall a president doing so in a manner that seemed to leave aside any concerns raised by his own intelligence advisers.
He said Trump was "restrained" in his approach to declassifying the documents, saying that he apparently did not take the extreme step of declassifying the actual FISA surveillance warrant. The order was issued under what is known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is commonly referred to in national security circles as FISA.
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 United States presidential election".
Ohr is accused of having improper communications with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who provided the FBI the unverified Trump dossier before he was terminated as a source for leaking word of the investigation to the press. According to the publisher, McCabe will describe "a series of troubling, contradictory, and often freaky conversations" with Trump and other high officials that led him to believe the "actions of this President and his administration undermine the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the entire intelligence community" and threaten the general public.
Trump noted that his order was based on requests from lawmakers on the House Intelligence and Oversight committees, and wouldn't answer directly if he plans to declassify even more items in the future.
In addition to the FISA-related material, "about a dozen Bruce Ohr 302s" will also be declassified, Nunes went on to say. "We believe it was actually that the insurance policy was specifically what they did that still is redacted that the president has said that he's going to declassify".