Trump to declassify documents relating to origins of ‘attempted coup’ probe

The president ordered the USA intelligence community to "quickly and fully cooperate" with Barr's investigation into the origins of the Russian Federation probe. But the move could also serve as a prelude to a larger declassification effort Trump has floated since last fall as he's battled his own intelligence agencies and accused former officials, without evidence, of conspiring against him.

Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano this week once again reiterated that President Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses - and he said Attorney General Bill Barr very likely saved Trump from being indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

In his Thursday directive, Trump ordered members of the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr's probe. "If we're anxious about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be anxious about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale". The memo also said Barr has been "delegated full and complete authority to declassify information" related to the investigation.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leads one of the ongoing congressional investigations of Trump, called the action "un-American".

The blanket order to allow declassification of data may quickly create rifts with USA allies as well.

By giving Barr the authority to declassify documents, Trump is going over the heads of the intelligence agency chiefs, many of whom have made no secret of their disagreements with the president. Much of it, according to a report in The Independent in 2017, came from the UK's GCHQ.

Testimony from Barr only heightened these concerns, when he said that he believed "spying did occur" on the Trump campaign during the 2016 cycle.

Last month, Barr said at a Senate hearing that "spying" on Trump's campaign was carried out by US intelligence agencies, though he later referred to his concerns as focused on 'unauthorized surveillance'.

Wray, though co-operating with Barr in a review of the origins of the Russian Federation probe, would presumably balk at declassifying classified information that could reveal sensitive sources or methods of investigators. Barr is leading the review with US Attorney John Durham, a career federal prosecutor in CT.

Mr Trump, leaving the White House today for Japan, told reporters that the investigation was "an attempted coup".

Trump announced the declassification on Twitter, promising that it would "ensure that all Americans learn the truth" about the probe that has cast a shadow over the first two years of his presidency and "restore confidence in our public institutions".

President Trump has approved an additional deployment of missile defense batteries and reconnaissance aircraft into the Middle East to step up USA preparedness against threats posed by the regime that rules Iran.

  • Jon Douglas