“In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr,” the White House statement reads.
“BREAKING: President Trump directs DOJ to publicly release “all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr,” as well as declassify other material related to the Russian investigation.”
BREAKING: President Trump directs DOJ to publicly release "all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr," as well as declassify other material related to the Russian investigation. pic.twitter.com/nOvLC5EgNw
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 17, 2018
According to NBC News, the statement from the White House press office said Trump had directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of Justice and the FBI to declassify about 20 pages of a highly sensitive application for surveillance against Carter Page, a one-time Trump foreign policy aide. The news agency said that this was “an unprecedented move that stunned current and former intelligence officials.”
They said that the documents Trump is releasing reflect a specific request, down to the page numbers, made by the Republican members of the House judiciary and intelligence committees this summer.
Justice and intelligence officials had previously refused to release the information on the grounds that it was too sensitive.
CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin called it “insane” that President Donald Trump is more concerned about releasing text messages than stopping Russia from hacking American elections. It’s so egregious he called it the “most appalling obstruction of justice.”
“He could declassify how to make an atomic bomb,” Toobin said of the power the president has to declassify documents. “I mean he’s got plenary authority to declassify anything he wants. Let’s be clear about what is going on here: The president is doing nothing to reveal what went on when the Russian government tried to determine the outcome of our election. He has done nothing but obstruct that investigation.”
Toobin said that Trump is using his special selection of powers to pursue his political enemies and discredit the Russia investigation.
“And he has done nothing to try to stop the interference in our elections by the Russian government,” the CNN legal analyst added.
CNN’s Gloria Borger called it “total revenge” for the people he hates. “Some people would argue it is an abuse of his authority.”
Toobin chimed back in, “Meanwhile the Russians continue to try to interfere in our elections. And continue to try to manipulate the outcomes, and we don’t care about that. We just want to trash James Comey and Bruce Ohr, a lawyer nobody has ever heard of. I mean it is just insane what’s going on here.”