President Trump’s order to declassify a slew of documents Monday regarding the FBI’s warrant to spy on an American citizen and the bureau’s handling of the investigation into alleged collusion between Trump and Russia is being hailed by Republican lawmakers as a major step in “transparency.”
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant used by the FBI to monitor short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page’s communications has been at the center of the controversy since evidence surfaced during the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation on Russia revealed that the unverified dossier compiled by former British spy, Christopher Steele, was the main body of evidence used by the bureau to obtain the warrant. The dossier was the product of now-embattled research firm, Fusion GPS, which was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
According to lawmakers, other indicators that the FISA warrant may have been obtained under false pretenses were exposed in text messages between former Special Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Attorney Lisa Page. Page has since left the bureau and Strzok was fired earlier this year by the FBI for his actions during the investigation; including moments where they discussed communications with the media and published stories, they considered using as a ‘pretext’ to conduct more interviews of Trump campaign personnel.
Per Trump’s order, the documents to be declassified also include the full FBI interviews (called 302s) with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, and all FBI reports of interviews that had been prepared in connection with all other applications to surveil Carter Page.
The FISA was never really about me, it was about Trump
Page told this news site Monday night after the announcement was made, “The FISA was never really about me, it was about Trump.” On Fox New’s Sean Hannity show Page said it was “so incredibly stupid to begin with.” He noted that the FBI has never questioned him about the allegations against him in the FISA document. Congressional investigators have asked for 21 pages of the 412 pages of FISA applications and warrants on Page. The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the FISA earlier this year, but lawmakers said it was not enough to show the American people what had actually taken place. The supporting documents are expected to show that a significant amount of ‘exculpatory evidence’ was withheld from the secret court in the bureau’s effort to obtain the FISA.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who, on Tuesday was assisting with Hurricane Florence relief efforts in North Carolina, told SaraACarter.com that President Trump’s decision to declassify the documents was a bold and necessary move to uncovering the truth of what happened during the Russia probe. Meadows, who has been at the forefront of the investigation, is planning on staying with his constituents this week while first responders and volunteers continue recovery efforts. He was in the 9th Congressional District in Bladen County and said “looking at the homes underwater and seeing the devastation is really heartbreaking. We’re doing everything we can.”
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. We applaud President Trump’s boldness for taking this step and we encourage the administration to expeditiously release the documents.”
We look forward to the transparency…
“We look forward to the transparency and the start of a process that will once again elevate the FBI and DOJ to the most trusted law enforcement agency on the globe,” Meadows added.
However, a number of Democrats shot back at Trump, accusing the president of risking national security by providing the documents.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Monday, “the President is potentially risking the lives of our patriots by compromising sources and methods, all so he can advance falsehoods and false narratives that distract from the truth of the Trump-Russia scandal.”
Several U.S. officials, with knowledge of what is contained in the documents, told SaraACarter.com that the documents requested will not expose sources or methods, but one source added: “It will only expose the malfeasance that took place within the FBI and DOJ.”
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump ordered the documents released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Dan Coats and the Justice Department “at the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency.”
Other Republican lawmakers also lauded Trump’s decision for transparency.
We applaud the President’s decision to declassify portions of the Page FISA application and communications from the key people at the FBI and DOJ who ran the Russia investigation: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, and Ohr.
Transparency is a good thing.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) September 17, 2018
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told Fox New’s Shannon Bream Monday that Pelosi is entirely wrong. “There will be no sources and methods being exposed here but what will be disclosed, the American people will find out that there was no basis for these FISA warrants,” he said.