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President Trump’s allies in Congress and the media have long wondered why he doesn’t declassify documents withheld by the Department of Justice that could vindicate him in the Russia probe. What’s stopping him from exercising his constitutional authority, they ask? Doesn’t he recognize the growing danger of inaction with the midterm elections at hand, which could spell his impeachment if he loses his Republican congressional majority?
RealClearInvestigations sought insight into the president’s thinking from current and past senior U.S. officials, most of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity. The picture of Trump that emerges plays against type.
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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 Rep. Adam Schiff as chairman of the committee.
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Nunes and others note that Trump benefitted enormously when he did declassify documents withheld by the Department of Justice (DOJ): the memo written by House Intelligence Committee Republican staff showed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 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:
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Twenty redacted pages from the final renewal of a surveillance court warrant to spy on Page;
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