House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., contends there are no national security concerns that would warrant apparent stonewalling by the Justice Department and the FBI on President Trump’s order to declassify documents related to the Russia probe.
The White House announced Monday evening that Trump had ordered the immediate declassification of about 20 pages of the DOJ’s and FBI’s application to the FISA court to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. In addition, text messages of key figures in the Russia investigation were to be released “without redaction,” including former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, DOJ official Bruce Ohr, former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former bureau lawyer Lisa Page.
Nunes told the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity Wednesday night he doesn’t understand why the FISA documents haven’t been released, noting Trump ordered that they be declassified immediately without redactions.
“In terms of the FISA, it’s only 20 pages. All you have to do is make a copy and send it out, put it on the internet,” he said.
“So, they’re, at this point, I do not understand why this hasn’t been declassified.”
Nunes said the people “running around” saying there are national security concerns are the culprits themselves.
“They are either covering up for their agency, or they are involved,” he said.
It’s important to get the information out to the American people, he said, who “have been “force-fed this Russian Kool-Aid for two years.”
Nunes said he believes the documents will provide information about the “insurance policy” — apparently in case of a Trump victory in November 2016 — to which Strzok and Page referred in their infamous text messages.
The congressman believes the “policy” has something to do with what Comey called a “mosaic of facts” purportedly regarding alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
“We need to see the rest of those facts, and that’s what we want released,” he said.
Hannity noted that Page acknowledged recently in a closed-door congressional interview that after nine months of investigation, the FBI found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
In a statement Monday, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called Trump’s order a “clear abuse of power,” claiming the FBI and Justice Department told him the release crosses a “red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods.”
Nunes responded Monday night in a Fox News interview that it’s “laughable” to claim the order is a danger to national security, saying establishment media is “buying the Kool-Aid.”
“This is really full transparency for the American people,” he said.
The Republican majority on the House intel panel released a memo in February with evidence the dubious dossier was its primary evidence to obtain the FISA warrant. And the Justice Department hid the fact the dossier was funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Trump’s order Monday also covers documents on FBI interviews with Ohr, who served as a liaison between the department and Steele after the bureau cut off its relationship with the British spy for leaking to media. Ohr also did not disclose that his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.
Nellie Ohr is refusing to appear before Congress for a closed-door hearing that had been scheduled for Friday, sources told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Schiff charged Monday that Trump was trying 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.”
Trump: Order release to expose ‘hoax’
Trump told the Hill.TV on Tuesday he ordered the release to show the public the FBI probe started as a “hoax.”
He said exposing it could become one of the “crowning achievements” of his presidency.
“What we’ve done is a great service to the country, really,” Trump said.
“I hope to be able to call this, along with tax cuts and regulation and all the things I’ve done … in its own way this might be the most important thing because this was corrupt,” he said.
Trump also said he regretted not firing Comey immediately instead of waiting until May 2017.