President Donald Trump asked the U.S. intelligence community on Thursday to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation of the origins of the multi-year probe of whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review the sensitive intelligence underpinnings of the investigation.
Barr has already asked John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Russia investigation to determine whether intelligence and surveillance methods used during the probe were lawful and appropriate.
Trump has frequently said his campaign was the victim of spying, though the intelligence community has insisted it acted lawfully in following leads in the Russia investigation and conducted surveillance under court order.
Wray vocally opposed the release by Congress last year of details from a secret surveillance warrant obtained by the bureau on a former campaign adviser, Carter Page. The White House had eagerly encouraged Republicans on the House intelligence committee to disclose that classified information, believing it could help undermine the Russia investigation.
Wray, though cooperating with Barr in a review of the origins of the Russia probe, would presumably balk at declassifying classified information that could reveal sensitive sources or methods of investigators.
After Mueller submitted his report to Barr in March, the attorney general released a four-page summary to Congress. Barr’s letter framed the debate about the probe over the next few weeks and allowed Trump to declare victory before the release of the full report.
“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 said.
This article was edited by TheBL.