President Trump is expected to declassify documents covering the U.S. government’s surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the investigative activities of senior Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, according to Axios, citing allies of the president who say it could happen as soon as this week.
Ohr was demoted twice for lying about the extent of his relationship with former British M16 Spy, Christopher Steele. Steele was the author of the salacious and now-debunked dossier used by the FBI in a FISA surveillance application to spy on Page, along with other members of the Trump campaign.
Just a few weeks ago President Trump publicly expressed his displeasure with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calling Ohr a disgrace, 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
Just one day after President Trump tweeted about Ohr, President Trump tweeted again noting a suspicious 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
Adding to those credibility issues are new Strzok-Page texts that will be hard for Democrats to argue away. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) states they raise “grave concerns” about an “apparent systemic culture of media leaking in the FBI and the DOJ to hurt President Donald Trump.
Meadows serves on the House Oversight Committee and has been very vocal regarding how troubling this whole situation is. He identified the texts most troubling to him in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, detailing two texts between the disgraced former lovers, fired FBI official Peter Strzok and his former mistress, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Fox News reports on Meadows letter to Rosenstein and the two texts in question that detail the pair discussing their “media leak strategy” –
“I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go,” Strzok texted Page on April 10, 2017, according to Meadows, who cited newly produced documents from the Justice Department.
Two days later, Strzok wrote, “Well done, Page,” and told her that two negative articles about Page’s “namesake” would soon come out. That was an apparent reference to Carter Page, the former Trump adviser whom the FBI surveilled for months after obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
The FBI and DOJ declined to comment. Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman, though, said the “media leak strategy” in the text referred to efforts to stop leaks.
“The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media,” he said in a statement.
On April 11, 2017, the Washington Post published a story titled, “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page. The article, citing “law enforcement and other U.S. officials,” reported that the DOJ and FBI had convinced a FISA judge there was “probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia.”
The text message exchanges “should lead a reasonable person to question whether there was a sincere desire to investigate wrongdoing or to place derogatory information in the media to justify a continued probe,” Meadows, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, wrote.
Page has not been charged with any wrongdoing. Heavily redacted documents have since shown that a dossier written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign played a key role in obtaining the FISA warrant to surveil him beginning in October 2016.”
“In his letter, Meadows noted that the Post’s reporting “[set] off a flurry of articles suggesting connections between President Trump and Russia.”
The leaks involved other outlets in addition to the Washington Post, Meadows wrote. FBI and DOJ officials, including DOJ prosecutor and top Robert Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann, met with several Associated Press reporters in April 2017, according to court filings in the Virginia federal trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
The leaks to the media continued even as FBI attorneys cited the U.S. Attorney’s Manual in telling Congress that witnesses could not answer questions about pending probes, Meadows wrote.
There is “troubling evidence” that the FBI and DOJ continue to coordinate leaks to the media, Meadows said. While those disclosures may not be unauthorized, he added, they still compromise the appearance of impartiality at the bureau.
Meadows concluded by requesting written communications from FBI and DOJ officials, including Stu Evans, Mike Kortan and Joe Pientka, from June 2016 to June 2017, although he emphasized that he was not suggested they engaged in wrongdoing.”
Look this month for POTUS to declassify …
— 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
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) August 5, 2018
Back in the earlier part of August, investigative journalist Paul Sperry tweeted his belief that President 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.”
More to come…