Outgoing President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued an order declassifying documents related to the investigation alleging his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.
Trump had been seeking to release the documents about the beginning of the investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane, but had run into objections from the FBI over what should be released.
On his final full day in office, the outgoing president bowed to the FBI and accepted that the portions of the documents they wanted redacted can be withheld, according to Politico.
Trump long labeled the investigation and its shaky foundations a “witch hunt” and has said he believes former President Barack Obama was aware of the effort against him.
“At my request, on December 30, 2020, the Department of Justice provided the White House with a binder of materials related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” Trump said in the memo.
“Portions of the documents in the binder have remained classified and have not been released to the Congress or the public. I requested the documents so that a declassification review could be performed and so I could determine to what extent materials in the binder should be released in unclassified form,” he said.
Trump said he had pushed for total declassification.
“I determined that the materials in that binder should be declassified to the maximum extent possible,” Trump wrote. “In response, and as part of the iterative process of the declassification review, under a cover letter dated January 17, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted its continuing objection to any further declassification of the materials in the binder and also, on the basis of a review that included Intelligence Community equities, identified the passages that it believed it was most crucial to keep from public disclosure. I have determined to accept the redactions proposed for continued classification by the FBI in that January 17 submission.
“I hereby declassify the remaining materials in the binder. This is my final determination under the declassification review and I have directed the Attorney General to implement the redactions proposed in the FBI’s January 17 submission and return to the White House an appropriately redacted copy.”
It was unclear early Wednesday what the documents contained.
Trump said in October he wanted every document fully released, which was supported by many congressional Republicans.
“Numerous perpetrators weaponized our intelligence agencies against a political campaign — that’s a major threat to Americans’ civil liberties and to democratic governance,” Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California said, according to Fox News. “I have long called for maximum declassification and transparency so Americans can see the true scale of the abuses that occurred.”
Former Trump 2016 campaign aide Carter Page, who was picked by the FBI as its target when the discredited Trump-Russia probe was launched, also supported airing out all the facts for everyone to see.
“Bad actors have been working against our duly elected president ever since the first political campaign of his career,” Page said. “It is essential that these roadblocks are immediately demolished now, for the sake of the restoration of our democracy.”
In November, Page filed a $75 million lawsuit against the Justice Department, FBI and numerous officials claiming he was wrongfully surveilled, according to the New York Post.
The lawsuit names former FBI Director James Comey, FBI Assistant Director Andrew McCabe, FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page as well as former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who earlier this year pleaded guilty to falsifying an e-mail used by the FBI when it monitored Page.
Using the doctored email, the FBI was able to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to conduct surveillance on Page, who the FBI claimed was being recruited by Russia. No charges were ever filed against Page.
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