DOJ And FBI Plan Redactions For Sensitive Russia Investigation Materials Requested By Trump

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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  • President Donald Trump requested the declassification and review of sensitive materials related to the FBI’s Russia investigation
  • Sources say FBI and DOJ are complying but will likely propose redactions
  • Trump and House Republicans say the materials will reveal the abuse of FISA warrants, but Democrats say the declassification order is an abuse of power 

The FBI and the Department of Justice are reportedly planning redactions from certain Russia investigation materials for which President Donald Trump demanded declassification.

Trump ordered sensitive materials related to the FBI’s Russia investigation be declassified and submitted for review Monday, including sections of the application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court concerning former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, all related interviews, and FBI interviews with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Trump also requested that text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Ohr related to the Russia investigation be publicly released without redaction. (RELATED: Democrats Make Last Ditch Effort To Block Trump Declassification)

Sources close to DOJ, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the agencies will likely propose redactions, as is common in the review process for the declassification of sensitive materials, though it remains unclear whether those redactions will apply to the text messages Trump requested.

Trump ordered the release of the documents at the behest of House Republicans “and for reasons of transparency,” according to Bloomberg. The FBI and the Department of Justice will submit the documents Trump requested to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence along with any proposed redactions, as part of the review process. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will then package the material and deliver it to the White House.

“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.”

Trump asserted Tuesday that the declassified materials would reveal “really bad things” concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants and anti-Trump bias that tainted the investigation.

While Trump did not demand the full declassification of any materials aside from the aforementioned text messages, he does have the authority to override any submitted redactions of the other materials and to send the materials back for further review and declassification.

Leading congressional Democrats decried Trump’s order for the declassification of the sensitive materials, saying it amounted to “a brazen abuse of power,” in a letter sent to Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice policies,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House and Senate intelligence committees members Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia.

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