On Monday President Trump ordered intelligence agencies to declassify a mountain of Russia documents and texts, including documents regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on Carter Page and texts from key players in the Russia investigation. The White House said the order was for “reasons of transparency” and at the request of several committees in Congress.
The declassification order includes redacted portions of the FISA warrant the FBI obtained to spy on Trump associate Page, all FBI notes on interviews related to obtaining the warrant on Page, and all FBI notes on interviews with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr related to the Russia investigation.
Trump also ordered the Justice Department and FBI to publicly release in full all text messages related to the Russia investigation from former FBI director James Comey, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former lead Russia investigators and disgraced lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and Ohr, who was demoted from his top post at the Justice Department in December amid questions about his involvement in the Russia probe.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is reportedly pleased with the order, which covers “pretty much everything” he wanted, and said he considered the text messages a “bonus.” A number of congressional Republicans asked Trump earlier this month to declassify the FISA warrant and the FBI notes on Ohr interviews.
Ohr is accused of having improper communications with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who provided the FBI the unverified Trump dossier before he was terminated as a source for leaking word of the investigation to the press. Notes leaked by The Hill in an explosive investigative report suggest Ohr served as a middle man between Steele and the FBI even after he was terminated as a source, so Steele could continue feeding the FBI information. Ohr was then the associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.
Questions also continue to swirl around the FBI’s alleged abuse of the FISA court to obtain multiple warrants on Page. The warrants released to the public were previously heavily redacted.
It’s not yet clear when and how the declassified documents and texts will be released.