Trump declassifies documents related to Russia probe

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Donald Trump is declassifying a trove of documents related to the early days of the FBI’s Russia investigation, including portions of a secret surveillance warrant and former FBI director James Comey’s text messages.

The move was confirmed in a statement from press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The president is making the extraordinary move in response to calls from his allies in Congress who say they believe the Russia investigation was tainted by anti-Trump bias within the ranks of the FBI and the Justice Department.

He is declassifying about 20 pages of the warrant obtained to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and FBI interviews conducted to secure that warrant.

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The president has acted after the guilty plea of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and amid an ongoing grand jury investigation into a longtime associate, Roger Stone.

The decision will result in the release of text messages and documents involving several senior Justice Department and FBI officials Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked over the last year.

Ms Sanders said he had directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department to declassify the documents “at the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency”.

Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

He also is declassifying all FBI reports documenting interviews with senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, who was in contact with ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

Mr Steele was a longtime FBI informant whose Democratic-funded research into Trump ties to Russia was compiled into a dossier that has become a partisan lightning rod since its publication in January 2017.

According to Ms Sanders’ statement, Mr Trump also directed the Justice Department to publicly release in full the text messages of Mr Comey, Mr Ohr, former FBI director Andrew McCabe, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

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