President to declassify Russia investigation documents

Trump declassifies documents related to Russia probe

Trump Orders Declassification of Carter Page FBI Documents

The documents the president ordered declassified include a portion of a secret surveillance application for a former Trump campaign adviser, materials by default treated as highly secret and withheld from public view.

Former law enforcement and intelligence officials have likewise expressed deep concern, some going as far as to label the president's decision a "serious assault" on the country's justice system.

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.

News repeated Democrats' talking points when discussing President Trump's decision to declassify documents related to the Russian Federation poll.

The June 2017 application was the last of four filed by the Justice Department in support of court orders allowing the monitoring of Page.

Mark Warner, the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has read the documents Trump wants released, and issued a stark warning following the White House's announcement.

The Justice Department says it's begun complying with the order, though it's not clear when the documents might be released.

It also pointed out that the "directive matched, page for page, the documents [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin] Nunes and other Republicans said they had been seeking".

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

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As president, Trump has the power to declassify any information he thinks is in the public interest.

The FISA court is unique, said King, as it gives "unprecedented power" to the Justice Department.

"Foreign sources with information useful for USA national security may stop cooperating, or be dissuaded from cooperating in the first place, with US agencies", Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA officer now with Georgetown University, told VOA via email. Manafort attended a meeting set up by Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., with a lawyer said to be a Russian government attorney willing to provide incriminating information about Clinton.

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff said in a statement: "President Trump, in a clear abuse of power, has chose to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defence team and thinks will advance a false narrative".

Burr previously broke with his House Intelligence Committee counterparts after they released a memo with details on the Page FISA.

"He certainly has the authority to do it", Brennan said.

Among those officials: ex-FBI Director James Comey, whose firing by Trump in 2017 triggered the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller and an obstruction of justice investigation involving the Russian Federation case.

Trump made a similar move in February when the White House, over the objections of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and intelligence community, cleared the way for the Republican-led House intelligence committee to release a partisan memo about the surveillance warrant on Page. Page answered, "We need to lock in (redacted)". McCabe denied the charges. But it may also identify specific sources of information for the FBI or disclose previously classified information about Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election - which remains the center of an ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. About 30 members of Congress of both parties have had access to FISA applications related to the investigation.

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