In stunning move, Trump declassifies documents related to Russian Federation probe

Elias Hubbard
September 19, 2018

But the decision, made against the backdrop of Trump's spiraling outrage at the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation, may expose sensitive sources and methods and brush up against privacy law protections, experts say. But when it does it would be the latest move by Trump and his administration to release previously secret documents at the heart of claims by the president's allies on Capitol Hill.

"This radical policy choice is not being made on traditional policy grounds".

Both the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department issued statements late Monday saying they were working to comply with the order but had to review the documents first, "to ensure the safety of America's national security interests".

While it's known that former Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, and his drunken rant about Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton in London in May 2016 are the circumstances that prompted the launch of the Russia probe, Trump has maintained that the contents of the dossier ignited the inquiry.

Democrats in the House believe this is just another attempt by President Trump to selectively release documents which will strengthen his own defense in the Special Counsel investigation. It was signed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and the top Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner.

The president tweeted Tuesday on the move, quoting a supportive congressman and adding: "Really bad things were happening, but they are now being exposed".

"It's a hoax", Trump said, "beyond a witch hunt".

He said he hasn't read the documents he ordered declassified.

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US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he is not anxious about what his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is cooperating with the US special counsel's probe into Russian election meddling, will tell prosecutors, as long as he is truthful. "These documents will reveal to the American people some of the systemic corruption and bias that took place at the highest levels of the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation, including using the tools of our intelligence community for partisan political ends", he said. It was an application to the highly secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which grants secret national security surveillance warrants.

"I don't mean to suggest that the government will start lying to the court".

It was unclear how soon the documents would be released.

Mr. Trump also directed the Department of Justice to release FBI reports about Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department attorney, and the unredacted text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Ohr.

The FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence had no immediate comment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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