Archive

Trump walks back his plan to declassify Russia probe documents | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Trump walks back his plan to declassify Russia probe documents

25785425768304cbd25f2c5249d8a76cf04be962700c
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump waves as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington. President Trump challenged the woman accusing his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault by name, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, saying that if the alleged attack was that 'bad' then she would have filed charges. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Friday walked back his order earlier this week to declassify information in the ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying Justice Department officials and others had convinced him not to declassify it for the time being.

The retreat from his declassification decree issued just four days ago underscores the ongoing tensions between the White House and the Justice Department over the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is examining whether any Trump associates may have conspired with the Kremlin to interfere in the election.

In a pair of Friday morning tweets, 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!”

On Monday, the president ordered the Justice Department to declassify significant materials from the Russia investigation, a move that threatened another showdown with federal law enforcement officials resistant to publicizing information from an ongoing probe.

The White House issued a statement Monday saying Trump was ordering the department to immediately declassify portions of the secret court order to monitor former campaign adviser Carter Page, along with all interviews conducted as officials applied for that authority.

Trump also instructed the department to publicly release the unredacted text messages of several former high-level Justice Department and FBI officials, including former FBI director James B. Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe.

For months, conservative lawmakers have been calling on the department to release Russia-related and other materials, many of them accusing law enforcement of hiding information that might discredit the Mueller investigation.

The president’s declaration on Friday appears to indicate he is willing to let the Justice Department’s inspector general – which is already conducting an internal investigation of how the Russia probe has been handled – review the material rather than release it publicly.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.