AP NEWS

Donald Trump orders declassification of Russia probe documents

September 17, 2018

President Trump on Monday ordered the declassification of FISA court documents and Justice Department text messages related to the Russia probe.

The House and Senate intelligence committee Republicans have been seeking the FISA documents, warrant applications that could shed light on how the FBI in 2016 justified spying on Carter Page, a Trump campaign official.

He ordered the declassification of 19 pages of the application to the secret FISA court that approves surveillance on U.S. citizens, all FBI reports of interviews with Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation, and all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all FISA applications regarding Mr. Page.

Mr. Ohr, then an associate deputy attorney general, acted as a conduit between the FBI, opposition research firm Fusion GPS and there former British spy who complied an unverified Trump-Russia dossier.

The FBI produced nine reports on debriefings of Mr. Ohr, whose wife Nellie Ohr worked at Fusion GPS.

The Justice Department said the order would not result in immediate release of the documents.

“When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests. The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President’s order,” a Justice Department spokesman said.

Mr. Trump also directed the Department of Justice and FBI to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation from the key players in the genesis of the probe of Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin.

Those players include former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI official Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Mr. Ohr.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee who spearheaded the collusion probe, said Mr. Trump crossed a “red line.”

“President Trump, in a clear abuse of power, has decided 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,” he said.

“With respect to some of these materials, I have been previously informed by the FBI and Justice Department that they would consider their release a red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods,” he said. “This is evidently of no consequence to a President who cares about nothing about the country and everything about his narrow self-interest.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly