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NBC News Joins Fight Against Transparency Over Trump's Declassification

21 September, 2018, 02:33 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Trump holds an Oval Office meeting on preparations for hurricane Florence at the White House in Washington

President Donald Trump is flexing his executive power to declassify secret documents in the Russian Federation investigation, an extraordinary move he says will ensure that "really bad things" at the FBI are exposed.

"The President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: 1. pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; 2. all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russian Federation investigation; and 3. all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

"At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russian Federation investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications", the White House said in a statement.

Carter Page is an American oil industry consultant who served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign.

The first point was that they were shocked by the president's order, which makes little sense since he has been vowing to declassify the documents for months. A footnote also disclosed a political motivation behind the Steele dossier and said the person behind it was likely looking for information to discredit Trump's campaign, but Trump did not order the vast majority of that portion of the October 2016 FISA declassified Monday.

They believe that the FISA court incorrectly allowed the surveillance on the basis of the material in the dossier.

The declassification of the documents was quickly praised by Trump allies in Congress and attacked by Democrats.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr said Tuesday that he would prefer to keep the FISA documents on Page classified.

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Rep. Mark Meadows told Bloomberg News, "As Congress has investigated, we've continued to see more and more troubling evidence suggesting multiple senior-level Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ officials acted in a deeply unethical fashion during the 2016 campaign and throughout the early stages of the Trump administration". But those documents were heavily redacted, with entire pages blacked out.

According to lawmakers, other indicators that the FISA warrant may have been obtained under false pretenses were exposed in text messages between former Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Attorney Lisa Page.

And the No. three Republican in the House, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, tweeted that Trump made the right call.

"Americans deserve the truth about these egregious actions by government officials", Scalise said.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY, the ranking Democrats on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, said in a statement that Trump's actions were a "direct and frantic response" to Manafort's recent guilty plea and cooperation agreement with Mueller.

A Justice Department spokesperson said Monday evening that the document review process had already begun. "Officials hope the declassification review will happen, but express private outrage Trump and allies want to spill secrets for apparent political purposes" by Ken Dilanian and Mike Memoli, start with this point and drive it home repeatedly.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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