The decision was made at the request of a number of congressional committees and “for reasons of transparency,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday.
Trump’s order instructs the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Department of Justice – including the FBI – to immediately declassify pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court, used to justify surveillance of Carter Page, as well as “all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.”
BREAKING: Trump orders the declassification of Carter Page FISA application and the public release of "all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.” pic.twitter.com/RHVnU9CniF
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 17, 2018
The order also applies to “all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation” and “all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.”
Ohr is a former high-ranking DOJ official who met repeatedly with British spy Christopher Steele, author of the notorious “Trump dossier” funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign through the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, was employed by Fusion GPS at the time.
Fox News reports:
Congressional sources told Fox News that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know how soon he will get the documents, but said Trump’s order covers “pretty much everything that he wanted … and the text messages are a bonus.”
According to the sources, Nunes added: “Wow! This is a direct order.”
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called Trump’s decision “a clear abuse of power.”
“[Trump] has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative,” Schiff said. “With respect to some of these materials, I have been previously informed by the FBI and Justice Department that they would consider their release a red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods.
“This is evidently of no consequence to a President who cares about nothing about the country and everything about his narrow self-interest,” Schiff added.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, praised Trump’s order to declassify the documents.
“As Congress has investigated, we’ve continued to see more and more troubling evidence suggesting multiple senior level FBI and DOJ officials acted in a deeply unethical fashion during the 2016 campaign and throughout the early stages of the Trump administration,” Meadows said. “Enough is enough–the time for full transparency is now. Let’s bring the full truth to light, while protecting sources and methods, and allow the American people to judge for themselves.”
Meadows is one of 12 GOP members of Congress who earlier this month publicly asked Trump to declassify the June 2017 application for a warrant against Carter Page as well as the FBI reports of interviews with Ohr, known in bureaucratic parlance as “Form 302s.”
On Sunday, Nunes told Fox News that witness interview transcripts and other documents from that committee’s now-concluded Russia investigation should be made public before November’s midterm elections.
“If the president wants the American people to really understand just how broad and invasive this investigation has been to many Americans and how unfair it has been, he has no choice but to declassify,” Nunes said on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said last week that it would be “beneficial” for Americans to see those documents.