FBI Agrees To Declassify Collusion Docs, but Trump Puts Kibosh on It for IG Review
By Jack Davis
September 21, 2018 at 10:09am
President Donald Trump announced Friday that a planned release of some documents related to the FBI’s investigation of alleged Russian collusion with his 2016 presidential campaign is now on hold.
“I met with the (Department of Justice) concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release,” Trump tweeted.
“Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me — and everyone!” the president added.
On Monday, Trump had ordered the Justice Department to release the documents.
The president has said Obama administration officials skirted the rules in order to put Trump campaign aide Cater Page under surveillance in hopes of getting at Trump through Page.
Although heavily redacted versions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court surveillance applications involving Page were made public in July, Trump has called for unredacted versions to be made public.
The documents to be released also included texts between former FBI officials and lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, both of whom were involved in the probe and who exchanged anti-Trump emails. The Justice Department had signaled that it was working to declassify the documents after Trump’s order to do so was issued Monday.
The Washington Post, citing sources it did not identify, said that Britain was among the allies who contacted the White House asking that the documents not be released.
Trump had indicated Thursday night that his concerns for transparency were causing ripples elsewhere.
“We’re moving along. We’re working along. We’re also dealing with foreign countries that might have a problem,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “It’s not as simple as all that, and we do have to respect their wishes.”
Trump said two unnamed “very good allies” were concerned.
During an interview with The Hill, Trump said that he had been asked to release the documents.
“And I have had many people ask me to release them. Not that I didn’t like the idea, but I wanted to wait. I wanted to see what, you know, where it was all going. And I think … it’s a hoax. You know Gregg Jarrett wrote a book called the ‘Russian Hoax.’ It actually is a hoax. I call it a witch hunt, but it’s a hoax. Beyond a witch hunt,” he said.
“I have been asked by so many people that I respect, please — the great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful, great Jeanine Pirro. … They know that this is one of the great scandals in the history of our country,” Trump said later in the interview.
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