Republican lawmakers–along with their investigators–are vested in hope that President Donald Trump will declassify a slew of documents tied to the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe and interview more witnesses before the House flips to the Democrats after the new year.

It leaves less than two months before the lawmakers find themselves battling senior Democratic leadership who have made it clear that they don’t want the declassification of a number of key Russia investigation documents. Those documents include the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, the FBI’s interviews with demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr and the ‘Gang of Eight’ documents that contain the details of the bureau’s investigation. It also includes the exculpatory information withheld from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when the bureau sought its warrant to spy on Page.

Time is running out, but don’t expect the Republican lawmakers in the House to drop the fight. A number of congressional sources and sources close to the investigation say they will push for the declassification and plan to interview more witnesses before the end of the year.

As for the Senate, despite the Republicans remaining in control, there is not a high expectation that the Senate lawmakers will continue to investigate with the same vigor of the House.

“I don’t expect the Senate to pick up where the Republican House left off,” said a congressional official, who spoke on background.  “But I do have some hope for the Inspector General’s report, but that information will only be made public when he’s done with the report. (Inspector General Michael) Horowitz is limited and can’t talk about anything to anyone beyond those he’s speaking to in the FBI and DOJ. Nobody has a clue as to when his report will come out.”

Horowitz’s report on the bureau’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server took roughly one year and thus far, the Inspector General has been investigating the FBI’s role in the alleged Trump-Russia collusion allegations for approximately five months. If it takes as long as the Clinton investigation, the report will not be available until sometime next spring.

In September, California Democratic Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA), along with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia wrote a letter to intelligence agencies saying they were concerned that Trump’s decision to declassify would intervene in the ongoing investigation.

The Democratic lawmakers told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, that declassifying the information is a “brazen abuse of power.” They stated it “will violate longstanding Department of Justice policies, as well as assurances you have provided us.” They also requested to review any information before it was declassified.

But, that doesn’t mean that’s what will happen.

Republican lawmakers said they are hopeful Trump will declassify the documents and make what can be available to the public. On Wednesday Trump said he was “seriously” considering declassifying the documents, which were turned over to Horowitz in September. At the time, Trump had already announced that he would declassify the documents but in a quick reversal, stated on Twitter September 21, “I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of the various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe.”

He then stated in the same Tweet, “Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release.”

One of those allies, according to multiple intelligence sources, was Great Britain, where the FBI, as well as the CIA, had remained in close contact during the 2016 investigation into Trump and those working in his campaign, like short term foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos that was charged by Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel with one count of lying to the FBI. He and his wife, Simona, have been outspoken about what happened in London and they claim that he was being used to set up the Trump campaign.

 

 

 

 

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