He 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 Justice Department and the FBI are working with the Director of National Intelligence to prepare new declassified versions of documents related to the Russian Federation investigation with redactions, which is part of the typical procedure, following President Donald Trump's highly unprecedented order to declassify several documents and text messages. It also came as Trump continued his efforts to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's probe after the guilty plea of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and amid the ongoing grand jury investigation into a longtime associate, Roger Stone.
A US official says the declassification process ordered by the president will be a "complicated" matter.
The declassification decision and order for public release of the documents was quickly praised by Trump allies in Congress and attacked by Democrats.
Democrats say that Trump and his allies are politicizing a law enforcement investigation in order to protect the White House.
The documents in question are specific pages of the June 2017 FISA warrant application related to onetime Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, all FBI interview reports prepared in connection with all FISA warrant applications in connection with Page, and all FBI reports of interviews with Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr prepared in connection with the FBI's Russian Federation investigation.
The White House said Trump made the decision for transparency purposes and after it was requested by multiple congressional committees.
As for the president's order Tuesday, Meadows said, "declassifying the documents is the only true way for the American people to understand the elevation of concern that members have had for months". Democrats later countered with their own memo.
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William Banks, a Syracuse University national security expert, said that by making the information public, Trump is essentially overruling the decisions of career officials intent on keeping it from foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups and other adversaries.
In March 2017, before news of the FISA warrant became public, Carter Page sent a letter to the Senate intelligence committee saying he may have been wiretapped during the time he spent at Trump Tower for the campaign.
"The Privacy Act is a big hurdle here unless Congress takes control of the materials and tries to release them themselves", Banks said.
The FISA court is unique, said King, as it gives "unprecedented power" to the Justice Department.
The other 18 pages appear to relate to information the government submitted that came from ex-British spy Christopher Steele before the presidential election.
The Christopher Steele "dossier", which contains salacious claims about President Trump and his ties to Russia, was reportedly stuck in a Federal Bureau of Investigation field office in NY for several weeks in July 2016, during the same time period that officials in Washington, D.C. had already begun looking into Trump campaign associates' ties to Russia, ABC News reported.
"Americans deserve the truth about these egregious actions by government officials", Representative Scalise said.
But the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff called the move a "clear abuse of power", and said Trump is "ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team".