Controversy has struck Trump’s Russia investigation, as the FBI and DOJ plan to disregard the president’s requests that certain sensitive materials be declassified, according to a Bloomberg report.
Like many of his blunders, Trump’s interference is unprecedented. The president called for the release of all text messages regarding the probe, among other things. Bloomberg’s unnamed sources say talks with the White House are likely to continue before the FBI proposes redactions. Trump’s abuse of power would mean that his defense team could strengthen their side and skew the truth of what happened.
One of Trump’s foreign policy advisors, Carter Page, was cited as a “target of Russian influence,” per Bloomberg. The FBI has already been dealing with how to release eavesdroppings on Page’s conversations as a result of the warrant’s acquisition. British spy Christopher Steele was employed to help gather evidence against Page to some extent, though Republicans and Democrats disagree as to what degree. Republicans believe that Hillary Clinton partially paid for Steele’s services, while Democrats say Steele wasn’t totally necessary for the warrant.
If Trump’s request were to go through completely, all this information would be made public. The FBI is trying to retain some secrecy, but is still being forced to compromise. Somehow, the President is being allowed to impact how his own investigation plays out. Even if the agencies’ involved respond with total refusal, Trump can declassify the documents himself later on. That sort of interference on its own is criminal, yet it continues to happen.
The repercussions of this aren’t yet clear. Bloomberg’s sources are unsure if we’ll see officials resign over the result of Trump’s power move, though Democrats did respond with a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, according to CNN. In it, they rightly call out the sharing of classified information with Trump and his lawyers as a violation of judicial standards, as well as an undermining of the investigation’s legitimacy.