Donald Trump once again hinted at declassifying FISA Russian docs.
BREAKING NEWS: President Trump indicated he may now declassify & publicly release the FISA applications and other documents targeting his campaign that are being withheld by the FBI and DOJ. “We’re looking at that very carefully,” adding he wanted to wait until after the midterms
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) November 7, 2018
In August, Trump handed over the classified documents to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz for review. Trump had originally suggested that he was going to declassify them, but then suddenly changed his mind, saying he wanted to ensure that there would be no national security implications if the documents were declassified.
The documents include all documents related to DOJ official Bruce Ohr’s interviews with the FBI. Ohr, who has been demoted three times for not informing his superiors of his role in the FBI investigation, gave a deposition to Congress in August where he admitted he was used as a back channel by the FBI, so the bureau could continue to communicate with former British spy and dossier creator Christopher Steele. At the time, the FBI had terminated Steele as a confidential source when it caught him giving communicating with the media.
According to sources, the FBI Agents kept copious notes in all 12 interviews they had with Ohr. Those interviews are known in the bureau as 302 reports. Those 302s, along with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that was used to spy on short-term Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page and the “Gang of Eight” notebook on the investigation, are currently under review by Horowitz.
For months, Congress has requested that Trump declassify the documents after battling Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to no avail. Congressional members, some whom have clearance to see the documents, say “no sources or methods” would be exposed if they were declassified, but that they believe it would expose extensive evidence of abuse by the bureau on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Trump hinted at doing this a few months ago but decided against it. It will be interesting to see how Mueller reacts to the declassification of these documents.