Trump Launches New Desperate Attack on the Russia Probe as His Administration Is Engulfed in Scandal

Trump Launches New Desperate Attack on the Russia Probe as His Administration Is Engulfed in Scandal

President Donald Trump ordered classified information related to the Russia probe to be made public Monday by the FBI and the Justice Department as a part of his continued assault on the investigation into himself and his campaign.

The order below details the request for declassification, which Trump has unilateral authority to order:

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 Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications. 

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.

"I've never before seen a statement from the White House ordering declassification of something that the intelligence agencies were not ready to declassify," said NBC national security reporter Ken Dilanian about the move. "That's going to have huge repercussions."

Indeed, it is particularly striking that the White House would choose to reveal documents central to an ongoing investigation — a move made all the more egregious given that the investigation directly involves the president and his associates.

The FISA application, in particular, has been a major object of criticism for defenders of the president. They claim that the FBI erroneously used Christopher Steele's dossier alleging Trump-Russia ties to order unjustified surveillance of Carter Page. However, Page had already been the subject of FBI surveillance years before because of his ties to Russian intelligence, and he was no longer a member of the Trump campaign when the application was approved.

Monday's declassification order came at an especially fraught time for the White House. Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's Supreme Court nominee, is facing an allegation of sexual abuse that has thrown his nomination process into peril.

And just last week, it was revealed that Trump's former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller as a part of the Russia investigation. It seems likely that the new step taken by Trump is an attempt to distract from the deluge of bad news.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.