Trump Gives Attorney General William Barr Authority to Declassify Russia Probe Documents

By chelsia.marcius@thedailybeast.com (Chelsia Rose Marcius)
Chip Somodevilla / Getty

President Trump has authorized Attorney General William Barr to declassify any documents he sees fit in his newly launched investigation into the origins of the Russia probe and “intelligence activities” focused on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

As part of the attorney general’s investigation—which has alarmed many who see it as a way for Trump to target the FBI agents he has accused of “treason” for investigating his campaign—Trump has also directed intelligence officials to cooperate and “promptly provide such assistance and information” as Barr may request.

The White House confirmed the directives in a statement late Thursday.

“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,” the White House said.

“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.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) later called the president out on Twitter, blasting the order as “un-American.”

“While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies,” he wrote. “The coverup has entered a new and dangerous phase. This is un-American.”


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