The case for Trump declassifying documents

Lee Smith:
On declassification, the president is not the impulsive hothead portrayed by major media, epitomized by his "witch hunt" bluster on Twitter. Rather, he’s characterized by the sources as a deliberative, strategic executive inclined to keep his powder dry now for possible detonation later. (Because his supporters – some of whom have seen the documents – are pushing for declassification and his opponents are not, the assumption is that the documents would help the president.)

Trump told Fox News last week that while he didn’t want to interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, he may have no choice but to declassify. “At the right time, I think I'm going to have to do the documents," the president said.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, for one, would be pleased with that step. Nunes told Fox recently that false “media narratives” are burying the real story of anti-Trump machinations within the government. “That's why the sooner the president declassifies the better,” he said, with an eye toward the November midterm elections that – if Democrats win – would likely place Trump nemesis Adam Schiff as chairman of the committee.

Nunes and others note that Trump benefitted enormously when he did declassify documents withheld by the Department of Justice: the memo written by the House Intelligence Committee Republican staff showed that the FISA warrant application used to spy on campaign adviser Carter Page relied on unverified opposition research funded by the Democrats.

Now Nunes and other congressional investigators want him to declassify three other items that could show that the FBI and Department of Justice worked to undermine Trump:

  • Twenty redacted pages from the final renewal of a surveillance court warrant to spy on Page;
  • Exculpatory evidence regarding Page omitted from DOJ applications to spy on him; and
  • Records of FBI interviews with Bruce Ohr, the DOJ’s conduit between the FBI and Fusion GPS, the Democrat- and Russian-paid opposition research firm that produced the unverified memos on Trump’s supposed ties to Russia. Nellie Ohr, wife of the senior DOJ official, was employed by Fusion GPS to work on the anti-Trump research.

There is more.

Trump's delay in releasing the documents appears strategic.  His supporters worry that he may wait too long to force their release.


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