by Chuck Ross
President Donald Trump has directed the heads of several government agencies to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation of the origins of the Russia probe.
In a memo sent out Thursday, Trump also authorized Barr to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation.
The memo grants Barr the authority to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence” related to the Russia probe as he sees fit.
Barr has said that he is investigating whether government agencies improperly surveilled members of the Trump campaign. In testimony to Congress, Barr has asserted that the FBI and other agencies spied on the campaign by using informants and surveillance warrants.
Trump’s memo directs the heads of several federal agencies, including the CIA, FBI and State Department, to “promptly” provide assistance and information to Barr to complete his review.
“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information.”
It is not clear from the memo when the information will be declassified, and whether it will be made public soon.
Trump’s Republican allies in Congress have pressed him to declassify portions of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtained against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
The FBI relied heavily on the unverified and Democrat-funded Steele dossier in applications for FISA warrants against Page. Republicans also want Trump to declassify notes from FBI interviews given by Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who served as Steele’s liaison to the FBI.
Trump authorized declassification of the documents on Sept. 14, 2018, but backed off several days later due to pressure from the Justice Department.
Trump has recently said he would declassify the documents, and that he wanted to wait until the special counsel’s investigation was over.
“Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders said in her statement.
– – –