Trump Delays Order To Declassify Russia Investigation Documents

President Trump added a major caveat to his Monday order to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, as well as specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and interviews with the DOJ’s Bruce Ohr. 

In a Friday morning Tweet, Trump said: “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. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. 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’s Monday order called for the “immediate declassification” of said materials. 

Meanwhile, top Congressional Democrats on Tuesday called for the DOJ to defy Trump’s order – demanding that they be allowed to see the materials first

On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that the Department of Justice was planning to defy Trump’s order and redact information in the releases.

The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter. –Bloomberg

The same day, we reported that the DOJ and the FBI are expected to submit proposed redactions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – which will prepare a package for Trump to sign off on. 

“When the president issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “The department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the president’s order.”

The agencies are likely to cite national security concerns over revealing classified “sources and methods” pertaining to the Russia investigation – which will put them in direct conflict with Trump’s order. Trump, as president, has the power to override the agencies and declassify material on his own. 

Trump’s order to release the documents comes after months of requests from GOP lawmakers, while the DOJ has repeatedly denied their requests for more transparency.