President Trump has directed the Justice Department and the director of national intelligence to immediately declassify documents related to the Obama administration’s handling of claims of Trump campaign collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.
The documents requested, the White House said in a statement Monday, included key parts of the FISA application to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page and FBI interviews with former top Justice official Bruce Ohr.
In addition, the White House wants to publicly release all text messages related to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Ohr.
Page admitted earlier this summer, Fox News reported Sunday, 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.
“I think this represents that even as far as May 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question,” Page told lawmakers during a closed-door deposition in July, according to Fox News.
Strzok indicated as much in a text to Page on May 19, 2017, two days after special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.
“You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”
Strzok was the lead investigator of both the Hillary Clinton email and Russia collusion investigations for the bureau.
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called Trump’s decision to declassify the documents “a clear abuse of power.”
“[Trump] 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,” Schiff 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.
“This is evidently of no consequence to a President who cares about nothing about the country and everything about his narrow self-interest,” the Democrat said.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, insisted he’s seen plenty of evidence to warrant releasing the documents.
“As Congress has investigated, we’ve continued to see more and more troubling evidence suggesting multiple senior level FBI and DOJ officials acted in a deeply unethical fashion during the 2016 campaign and throughout the early stages of the Trump administration,” Meadows said.
“Enough is enough — the time for full transparency is now. Let’s bring the full truth to light, while protecting sources and methods, and allow the American people to judge for themselves.”