President Donald Trump said that the DOJ inspector general has been asked to review unredacted documents related to the Russia probe. The announcement came days after the president ordered the declassification of the documents.
“I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis,” the president added.
“I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me – and everyone!”
Trump ordered the director of national intelligence (DNI) on Sept. 17, to declassify a list of documents related to the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.
The documents include parts of the June 2017 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant application to surveil former Trump-campaign volunteer Carter Page, the FBI’s interviews with DOJ official Bruce Ohr, the bureau’s interviews related to the Carter Page FISA application, and text messages related to the Russia probe sent by James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.
Four Democrats from the Gang of Eight congressional leaders group attempted to stall Trump’s order by demanding that the Justice Department, the FBI, and the DNI meet with them before releasing any documents.
Similar to the Justice Department, the Democrats argued that the release of the documents would impact Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mueller took over the FBI’s counterintelligence probe on the Trump campaign in May 2017, the month before a secret court approved the June 2017 FISA application to renew the warrant to spy on Page.
Trump has repeatedly excoriated the special counsel investigation as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” because the premise of the FBI probe Mueller inherited appears to be based largely on an opposition research dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
The dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, used second- and third-hand sources with ties to the Kremlin and Russian intelligence agencies to compile the dossier. None of the claims in the document have been verified.
Mueller’s team has not produced any evidence or indictments of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The White House and the Office of the Department of Justice Inspector General did not immediately return requests for comment.