- last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders also said in the statement.
- Trump investigation began when former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos told a foreign diplomat that Russia had collected thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
- Barr has more recently made similar suggestions in media interviews.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday directed that U.S. intelligence agencies must “quickly and fully” cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation “into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Barr has also been delegated the authority by Trump to declassify information related to the investigation, the White House also announced.
Sanders said that Barr had requested and recommended that the president issue the directive to the intelligence community.
“Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders also said in the statement.
Trump’s order came just hours after he stood in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and reiterated his claim, without providing evidence, that when FBI officials launched the initial probe into Russia that the decision amounted to “treason.”
“These are bad people,” Trump told reporters during an event with farmers. “That’s treason. That’s treason. They couldn’t win the election, and that’s what happened.”
The initial Trump investigation began when former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos told a foreign diplomat that Russia had collected thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails and would use them to damage the Democratic candidate’s campaign. The diplomat tipped off the FBI to the conversation.
The developments advance Trump’s desire to dig into the very beginnings of the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election that later became part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Trump and his allies have alleged the investigation began with political motivations, though there has been no smoking-gun evidence to support that theory.
Trump has repeatedly promised to declassify the documents, which many Republicans view as critical to deciphering the origins of the Russia probe.
Some redacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court records were released last year, but Trump allies have sought more information about the evidence the FBI presented to obtain a wiretap on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
That wiretap was not authorized until after Page left the Trump campaign, but the president has used its existence to argue that the FBI was “spying” on him.
Barr last month at a congressional hearing, without providing evidence, said “I think spying did occur” on Trump’s 2016 campaign. And Barr has more recently made similar suggestions in media interviews.
“The first thing I would like to see is the president declassify all documents to the FBI and Justice dealing with the 2016 election,” Kennedy said. “There will have to be redactions.
But if he’s not willing to do that, then I would like to see Mr. Barr delve into the genesis of all investigations about the 2016 election – the Trump investigation and the Clinton investigation.”