Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said in a Thursday interview that the information contained in the Russia documents withheld by the Department of Justice (DOJ) pose no risk to national security, and would be embarrassing to former CIA Director John Brennan, the DOJ and the FBI.
"I’ve read it. Some of it’s embarrassing for the Department of Justice — some of it’s embarrassing for the FBI. Embarrassment is not a reason to classify something," said Gowdy. "A lot of it should be embarrassing to John Brennan, and maybe therein lies why he is so adamant that this information not be released."
"I don’t think it’s going to change anyone’s mind, but I’ve seen nothing in it that is going to jeopardize the national security interest of this country," Gowdy added. "Other than one document related to George Papadopoulos, I don’t think people are going to be that interested in it. And I don’t think any mind’s are going to be changed."
Brennan, meanwhile, suggested in a Tuesday MSNBC interview that government officials should resign rather than comply with President Trump's order to release the records.
Brennan, who now serves as an MSNBC contributor, has been a vocal critic of Trump’s over the past year. Trump recently responded by ordering Brennan’s security clearance revoked. Gowdy criticized Brennan, saying the Obama appointee is “part of the reason we are in this historic conundrum.” He did not describe what information in the classified documents will embarrass Brennan and other government officials. But as CIA director, Brennan was directly involved in gathering and sharing intelligence used to investigate whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.
The documents in question are related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants obtained against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as well as FBI notes of interviews used to obtain the warrants. -Daily Caller
According to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Trump's order to declassify a broad swath of DOJ/FBI documents related to the Russia investigation will also expose the infamous "insurance policy" referred to in an August 15, 2016 text between former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Speaking with Fox News's Laura Ingraham last week, Nunes said that declassification will provide exculpatory evidence, including a dozen or so 302 witness interview forms from DOJ official Bruce Ohr which may shed light on his significant relationship with former MI6 spy Christopher Steele and "many other rotten apples."
"A lot of people think that the insurance policy was getting the FISA warrant on [former Trump campaign aide] Carter Page," Nunes told Ingraham, adding "We actually believe it was more explicit than that."
Trump also ordered the DOJ to release text messages from several key players in the Trump-Russia investigation, "without redaction," of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
A spokesman from the Justice Department told Fox News that the DOJ and FBI "are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President's order," while ODNI spokesperson Kellie Wade told the network: "As requested by the White House, the ODNI is working expeditiously with our interagency partners to conduct a declassification review of the documents the President has identified for declassification."
Meanwhile, Trump agreed to delay the release on Friday - allowing the DOJ's Inspector General to review the documents prior to declassification.
In Friday morning Tweets, Trump said: "I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me - and everyone!"
I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
....has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me - and everyone!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
So it looks like Brennan's embarrassment has been delayed...