Top Republicans and allies of President Trump praised his move to declassify all documents related to the Russia investigation saying the “American people deserve the truth.”
“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax,” the president tweeted Tuesday night. “Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!” The president tweeted Tuesday night.
"All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago," Trump tweeted. "Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country.”
He added: “Act!!!"
Last year, the president gave Attorney General Bill Barr authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016. Trump, at the time, also ordered members of the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr’s probe.
Allies of the president, including Republicans on Capitol Hill leading their own investigations into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, have criticized officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, claiming that the directors have been blocking the release of documents.
The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., who has been at the forefront of investigating the origins of the Russia probe for years, and has “long called” for declassification, said it is “gratifying” that the president is pushing for the release of the remaining documents.
“Numerous perpetrators weaponized our intelligence agencies against a political campaign—that’s a major threat to Americans’ civil liberties and to democratic governance,” Nunes told Fox News. “I have long called for maximum declassification and transparency so Americans can see the true scale of the abuses that occurred.”
Nunes added: “It’s gratifying that President Trump has decided to get the truth out.”
On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who has been, and is currently leading an investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, praised the president’s move.
"I truly hope Directors Wray and Haspell follow their commander-in-chief's order,” Johnson told Fox News. “The American people deserve the truth. What will they continue to hide?”
Former U.S. attorney Joe diGenova also warned that the president has been pushing for the declassification and release of these documents for months, but has been blocked.
“I hope and pray that it will be carried out. He has indicated he wanted things like this done in the past and has been obstructed,” diGenova told Fox News. “Everybody says it’s Gina Haspel and Chris Wray now, so we’ll see. If it happens, it will be wonderful.”
Meanwhile, former Trump campaign aide Carter Page told Fox News that it is “essential” for the documents to be released.
"Bad actors have been working against our duly elected president ever since the first political campaign of his career,” Page told Fox News. “It is essential that these roadblocks are immediately demolished now, for the sake of the restoration of our democracy.”
Page has been at the center of the FBI’s original Trump-Russia probe, after the bureau used the controversial and unverified anti-Trump dossier as the basis to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against him.
The dossier contains claims about alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russia that served as the basis for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants obtained against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, through law firm Perkins Coie, hired Fusion GPS and ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to author and compile information for the controversial and unverified anti-Trump dossier.
Fox News reported last month that Steele’s primary "source" for the dossier was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 for suspected contact with Russian intelligence officers.
The president’s tweets come after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified documents that revealed former CIA Director John Brennan briefed former President Obama on Hillary Clinton’s purported “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server” ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Fox News first reported that Ratcliffe declassified Brennan’s handwritten notes – which were taken after he briefed Obama on the intelligence the CIA received – and a CIA memo, which revealed that officials referred the matter to the FBI for potential investigative action.
"Today, at the direction of President Trump, I declassified additional documents relevant to ongoing Congressional oversight and investigative activities," Ratcliffe said in a statement to Fox News Tuesday.
A source familiar with the documents explained that Brennan's handwritten notes were taken after briefing Obama on the matter.
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED],” Brennan notes read. “CITE [summarizing] alleged approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service,” Brennan’s notes read.
The notes state “on 28 of July." In the margin, Brennan writes "POTUS," but that section of the notes is redacted.
“Any evidence of collaboration between Trump campaign + Russia,” the notes read.
The remainder of the notes are redacted, except in the margins, which reads: “JC,” “Denis,” and “Susan.”
The notes don't spell out the full names but "JC" could be referring to then-FBI Director James Comey, "Susan" could refer to National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and "Denis" could refer to then-Obama chief of staff Denis McDonough.
The declassification comes after Ratcliffe, last week, shared newly-declassified information with the Senate Judiciary Committee which revealed that in September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral on Hillary Clinton purportedly approving “a plan concerning U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections” in order to distract the public from her email scandal.
That referral was sent to Comey and then-Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok.
“The following information is provided for the exclusive use of your bureau for background investigative action or lead purposes as appropriate,” the CIA memo to Comey and Strzok stated.
"This memorandum contains sensitive information that could be source revealing. It should be handled with particular attention to compartmentation and need-to-know. To avoid the possible compromise of the source, any investigative action taken in response to the information below should be coordinated in advance with Chief Counterintelligence Mission Center, Legal,” the memo, which was sent to Comey and Strzok, read. “It may not be used in any legal proceeding—including FISA applications—without prior approval…”
“Per FBI verbal request, CIA provides the below examples of information the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell has gleaned to date," the memo continued. "“An exchange [REDACTED] discussing US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”
The memo is heavily redacted.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s original Russia probe, which began in July 2016, through the appointment of Mueller in May 2017, shortly after Mueller completed his years-long investigation into whether his campaign colluded or coordinated with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election, though the question of whether Trump obstructed justice was left open in the final report.