President Trump on Thursday night may have done what Democrats fear most. The president issued a memo giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016 by the FBI and Justice Department under then President Obama. The documents could also lead directly to the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian operatives.
Trump also ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr. The memo read: “The heads of elements of the intelligence community… and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.”
Democrats, while wanting the release of information from the White House concerning Russian “collusion,” have been against release of information that may implicate the Obama administration and its alleged efforts to work with the Hillary Clinton campaign to ensure Trump’s defeat in the 2016 election. Documents already available paint a picture of intrigue and obstruction by the Obama administration pertaining to its meddling in the election.
Democrats have been silent so far this evening in responding to the earth shattering news of the release of information concerning the Obama administration.
“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election,” Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”
Last month, Barr ran into a buzz saw of criticism from Democratic lawmakers and media figures for testifying that “spying did occur” against the Trump campaign in 2016. But despite the backlash, Barr appeared to be referring to intelligence collection that already has been widely reported and confirmed.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page are currently the subject of a Justice Department inspector general investigation looking at potential misconduct in the issuance of those warrants. That review also reportedly is scrutinizing the role of an FBI informant who had contacts with Trump advisers in the early stages of the Russia investigation.
“I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” Barr testified last month, adding that he believed it is his “obligation” to review whether there was misconduct in the original investigation. “Congress is usually very concerned with intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane.”
He added that “spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”
President Trump backed the attorney general’s testimony, saying the same day Barr testified last month that he thinks what Barr said “was absolutely true,” adding, “There was absolutely spying into my campaign.” He promised to consider an action that would declassify the documents for the public to see, thus cleaning his name and implicating Democrats.
Recently discovered evidence has revealed the Clinton campaign worked with Ukraine and Russian operatives to produce the fake dossier concerning Trump’s dealings in Russia.