President Donald Trump suggested on Sept. 6 that he may declassify more documents to track down corruption, a move supported by members of the House Freedom Caucus and other law makers who held a press conference the same day calling on the president to do just that.
“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”
The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do. The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2018
On Sept. 4, he told The Daily Caller that he’s looking into declassification of a spying warrant or warrants used against his presidential campaign team.
“We’re looking at it very seriously right now because the things that have gone on are so bad, so bad. I mean they were surveilling my campaign. If that happened on the other foot, they would’ve considered that treasonous. They would’ve considered that spying at the highest level,” he said.
“Can you imagine if we were doing that to Obama instead of Obama and his people doing that to us? Everybody would’ve been in jail for the next 500 years.”
As The Epoch Times previously detailed, the FBI under the Obama administration ran an extensive spying operation against the Trump campaign.
One part consisted of a spying warrant filed under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) with the FISA court in October 2016 against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Trump, who has full access to classified documents, has repeatedly stated that his campaign has been spied on.
While the scope section of the FISA warrant is still redacted, Trump may be referring to the NSA’s “two-hop rule,” which would allow the FBI to access not only Page’s electronic communications but also metadata, including the phone records of all of the people he was in contact with and all people in contact with each of them, reaching back 18 months. That would likely involve many, if not all, in the Trump campaign.
The warrant relied heavily on the infamous Steele dossier, a collection of flashy but unverified allegations that Trump and his campaign had ties with Russia.
The production of the dossier was funded by the campaign of Trump’s presidential opponent at the time, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee through opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
The firm hired at least two people in 2016 to work on the project: former British spy Christopher Steele and Nellie Ohr, wife of then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr.
The warrant, which was renewed three times at 90-day intervals, failed to mention that Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS, that Clinton and the DNC paid for the dossier, and that Steele had an intense bias against Trump.
Steele got the claims in the dossier from second- and third-hand sources linked to the Kremlin. According to Buce Ohr’s notes, most of the content came from a Russian intelligence operative living in the United States. He then funneled them to the FBI.
Russia has been known to try to meddle in the political system in the United States at least since the 1960s through the use of disinformation, a method of feeding false or misleading evidence to legitimate sources, who then spread the falsehoods while lending them credibility.
A heavily redacted version of the FISA warrant documents was released on July 21 (pdf).
End of the Week?
“Numerous sources” told SaraACarter.com that Trump is expected to declassify over 20 redacted pages of the last FISA warrant renewal. Those pages reveal, according to several Republican lawmakers, that top figures in the FBI and the Justice Department failed to disclose critical information to the court.
“[Trump] could always change his mind and it’s not a guarantee that it will happen, but the indications are that it more than likely will possibly be before the end of this week,” an unnamed U.S. official told the news site.
Several members of the House Freedom Caucus, Reps Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), and others held a press conference on Sept. 6 calling on Trump to declassify and release not only the Page FISA warrant and its renewals, but also FBI summaries (FD-302 forms) of interviews with Bruce Ohr.
The FBI was forced to officially cut ties with Steele on Nov. 1, 2016, after he broke source rules by peddling his dossier to media.
But Bruce Ohr continued to collect info from Steele and passed it on to the FBI well into the Trump presidency. He was interviewed a dozen times by the FBI.
The lawmakers also called for the declassification of further documents which they say provide exculpatory evidence regarding Page and others and that should have been provided to the FISA court, but weren’t, Zeldin said at the conference. The documents have only been provided to the “Gang of Eight,” he said, referring to the eight members of Congress allowed to be briefed on classified intelligence—House and Senate leaders from both parties as well as top House and Senate Intelligence Committee members from both parties.
“The only satisfactory outcome now is full transparency for the American public and full accountability for those who maliciously subjected American citizens to surveillance abuses,” he said.
Meadows said he got no “indication of a pushback” from Trump on the declassification requests, based on his conversations with Trump and the administration.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.