Intelligence Chief Coordinating With John Durham, Plans to Declassify More Documents Soon

August 31, 2020 Updated: August 31, 2020

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe plans to declassify more documents soon related to the investigation into the alleged Donald Trump campaign collusion with Russian actors.

Ratcliffe is coordinating with U.S. Attorney John Durham, who recently obtained a guilty plea in his review of the origins of the investigation.

Ratcliffe said in an Aug. 30 interview with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that he plans to declassify more documents.

When he was a congressman before becoming intelligence chief, Ratcliffe said, he didn’t believe the FBI had proper predicate to continue the counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign, a belief bolstered by the guilty plea from former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith and documents that Ratcliffe’s office has released.

“The question now is: Did the FBI have a proper predicate to begin a counter-intelligence investigation at all? And that’s the issue that John Durham is looking at, and that’s the issue that I’m continuing to look at,” Ratcliffe said.

“I pledged to a bipartisan group of senators that I would look at all of the underlying intelligence surrounding the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s interference and this idea of Trump–Russia collusion.

“So, I’ve spent the last three months, and I’ve declassified certain documents, and I plan to declassify additional documents. But I’m not going to prejudice John Durham’s work in connection with that, so we’ve had to coordinate with his office about the timing of that. But I’m optimistic that I’ll be declassifying additional documents soon.”

John Durham
Attorney John Durham speaks to reporters on the steps of U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., on April 25, 2006. (Bob Child/AP Photo)

Intelligence officials have been making sure Durham has access to all the documents he needs.

“He’s looking at the same documents that I am,” Ratcliffe said. “And so our work is running on a parallel path. Now his is a criminal investigation, he’s not sharing his findings or the work that he’s doing. But I’m coordinating with him to make sure that he has the intelligence documents that he needs to do his work.”

Some documents that might otherwise be declassified will not if it would impact Durham’s work, the intelligence chief said.

Records declassified by Ratcliffe and his predecessor revealed important information about the attempts to link the Trump campaign with Russia.

One document showed the FBI failed to disclose that ex-British spy Christopher Steele was receiving money from the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton, who was running against Trump.

Declassified transcripts from a conversation between Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and a Russian ambassador highlighted how Flynn didn’t discuss sanctions with the ambassador, undercutting a key claim against Flynn.

Ivan Pentchoukov and Petr Savb contributed to this report.

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