News & Politics

Report: Trump Close to Declassifying Remaining Redacted Portions of FISA Warrants

In this Aug. 21, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a in Charleston, W.Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump is getting ready to declassify 20 pages of still-redacted portions of the FBI’s applications for surveillance warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, investigative journalist Sara Carter reported Wednesday.

The Justice Department released over 400 previously top-secret documents connected to the Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in July but kept 20 pages under wraps.

The documents are expected to reveal detailed information showing that the Bureau withheld exculpatory information from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and the role former British spy Christopher Steele played in getting the unverified anti-Trump dossier to the Bureau. Steele created the dirty dossier after being commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which was financed on behalf of the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

For weeks, congressional Republicans have been calling on the president to declassify the remaining 20 redacted pages, claiming that they contain shocking and exculpatory information about how the FBI handled the Trump-Russia investigation.

“We are quite confident that once the American people see these 20 pages, at least for those that will get real reporting on this issue, they will be shocked by what’s in that FISA application,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo in July.

“There is exculpatory evidence that we have seen of classified documents that need to be declassified,” Nunes said a week later on Hannity. “The judges should have been presented with this exculpatory evidence that the FBI and DOJ had.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R- Iowa) has also asked Trump to declassify documents related to embattled Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife Nellie Ohr worked in 2016 as a contractor for the research firm Fusion GPS.

“All these documents will expose how the FBI handled this investigation and give clarity to the public,” said one congressional official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The American people deserve to know the truth and our country needs to move on.”

An anonymous U.S. official told Carter that the president could still change his mind about releasing the classified documents.  Trump “could always change his mind and it’s not a guarantee that it will happen, but the indications are that it more than likely will possibly be before the end of this week,” the official said. However, Republicans argue that there are no valid national security reasons to keep the documents classified.

New documentation obtained by Congress are already revealing the deep ties Ohr had to Steele and the bureau. Recent texts, notes and emails obtained by Congress reveal that Ohr worked as a backchannel for the FBI to move information being collected by Steele to the FBI.

The documentation also exposes Ohr’s inter-workings with the FBI and that he was in communication with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page. Strzok was recently fired by the FBI and Page has since left the bureau. McCabe was fired earlier this year after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a scathing report showing that McCabe lied on numerous times to investigators and leaked information to the media.

Arecent report by Fox New’s Catherine Herridge also exposes Ohr’s ties in 2016 to Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann. Weissmann, who was then chief of the DOJ’s criminal fraud division, was “kept in the loop” by Ohr about his contact with Steele and the FBI, according to the report. 

Earlier this year, revealed that before Weissmann was appointed to the Special Counsel, he arranged a meeting with AP journalists investigating Paul Manafort and his Ukrainian business dealings. On April 11, 2017 Weissmann, the AP reporters and several FBI officials Weissmann brought into the meeting met with the reporters.

On April, 12 the AP published the explosive expose on Manafort.

According to sources who spoke with this news outlet, the meeting was attended by three different litigating offices. Two employees from the U.S. Justice Department and the other representative was from the U.S. Attorney’s office, according to the sources. FBI agents also attended the meeting, law enforcement sources confirmed.

In an interview with The Daily Caller on Tuesday, President Trump said the White House is looking at declassifying the documents “very seriously right now” because the things that have gone on “are so bad, so bad.” Trump added, “I mean they were surveilling my campaign. If that happened on the other foot, they would’ve considered that treasonous. They would’ve considered that spying at the highest level. Can you imagine if we were doing that to Obama instead of Obama and his people doing that to us? Everybody would’ve been in jail for the next 500 years. OK? Can you believe it, where they paid this guy millions of dollars, it turned out? If you look at all of the things that are happening.”