President Trump is expected to declassify documents connected to the Obama administration's surveillance of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election, according to Axios, citing allies of the president who say it could happen as soon as this week.
Specifically mentioned are documents concerning former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as well as the "investigative activities of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr" - who was demoted twice for lying about his extensive relationship with Christopher Steele - the former MI6 spy who assembled the sham "Steele Dossier" used by the FBI in a FISA surveillance application to spy on Page.
Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.
- They allege that Bruce Ohr played an improper intermediary role between the Justice Department, British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm that produced the Trump-Russia dossier, funded by Democrats. (Ohr's wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS on Russia-related matters during the presidential election — a fact that Ohr did not disclose on federal forms.)
- And they further allege that the Obama administration improperly spied on Carter Page — all to take down Trump. -Axios
Ohr, meanwhile, met with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in 2015 to discuss helping the FBI with organized crime investigations, according to The Hill's John Solomon. The meeting with the Putin ally was facilitated by Steele.
Three weeks ago, Trump called Ohr a disgrace, while also tweeting: "Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department? A total joke!"
Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions “Justice” Department? A total joke!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2018
Trump's threat came one day after two tweets about Ohr, noting a connection to former FBI agent Peter Strzok, as well as a text sent by Ohr after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in which Ohr says "afraid they will be exposed."
“Very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed,” said Bruce Ohr. DOJ’s Emails & Notes show Bruce Ohr’s connection to (phony & discredited) Trump Dossier. A creep thinking he would get caught in a dishonest act. Rigged Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
“The FBI received documents from Bruce Ohr (of the Justice Department & whose wife Nelly worked for Fusion GPS).” Disgraced and fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok. This is too crazy to be believed! The Rigged Witch Hunt has zero credibility.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
According to emails turned over to Congressional investigators in August, Christopher Steele was much closer to Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie than previously disclosed.
Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., days after Steele turned in installments of his infamous "dossier" on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the agency's counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign.
“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”
"After two years of investigations and accusations from both sides of the aisle about what documents indicate, it is past time for documents to be declassified and let the American people decide for themselves if DoJ and FBI acted properly," Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told Axios earlier Sunday.
In early August, journalist Paul Sperry tweeted that Trump may use his presidential authority to declassify "20 redacted pages of a June, 2017 FISA renewal, "and possibly" 63 pages of emails and notes between "Ohr & Steele," and FD-302 summaries of 12 interviews."
Look this month for POTUS to declassify ...— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) August 5, 2018
-- 20 redacted pages of June 2017 FISA renewal
... and possibly ...
-- 63 pages of emails and notes b/t Ohr & Steele
-- FD-302 summaries of 12 FBI interviews w/ Ohr re Steele
... and watch Dems and media toadies become apoplectic
On Thursday of last week, President Trump threatened to declassify documents - one day after the New York Times allegedly published an anonymous Op-Ed claiming to be from a White House official claiming to be part of an unelected "resistance" cabal within the Trump administration.
"The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy - & they don’t know what to do," Trump tweeted Thursday morning, adding: "The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!"
The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy - & they don’t know what to do. The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2018
Trump's threat comes as calls by frustrated GOP legislators to release the documents have hit a fevered pitch. Spearheading the effort are Republican Reps. Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Lee Zeldin - who have repeatedly asked Trump to declassify more of the heavily redacted FISA surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in late 2016.
At 12:45PM, I will be joined by @Jim_Jordan @RepMarkMeadows @RepMattGaetz & others to call on @realDonaldTrump to declassify & release the Page FISA apps, Ohr's 302s & more. The FISA court was misled & the process abused to spy on Americans. We have ZERO tolerance for any of it!— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) September 6, 2018
In June, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked President Trump to declassify key sections of Carter Page's FISA warrant application, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.
Carter Page, the DOJ/FBI's person of interest, weighed in on the matter in late August, tweeting: "The Corrupt DOJ, co-conspirators in the DNC and their high-priced consultants correctly believed they had American democracy and the FISA Court over a barrel in 2016."
BREAKING NEWS (a.k.a. what most sane reporters and other observers realized long ago): The Corrupt DOJ, co-conspirators in the DNC and their high-priced consultants correctly believed they had American democracy and the FISA Court over a barrel in 2016.— Carter Page, Ph.D. (@carterwpage) August 31, 2018