President Trump blithely admitted to never having read the secret documents he’d ordered to be released this week, over the objections of career national security officials.
But on Friday, he appeared to concede that his Department of Justice might have a point about the potential dangers of publicly airing classified documents in full, unredacted form.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that after meeting with the top brass at Justice, the department’s Inspector General would review the documents prior to their release.
The docs in question are 21 selected pages of a court application for an order to monitor Trump ex-campaign aide, Carter Page, along with FBI interviews and text message transcripts of a handful of Trump’s most-criticized former officials, including ex-FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Trump had ordered all those documents released forthwith on Monday in what observers called a naked attempt to undermine the validity of the investigation now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump himself seemed to acknowledge the possibility that the disclosures could impede the Russia probe in his tweets. He noted that the Justice officials he’d spoken to had warned him about “a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe.”
Mueller and his team are investigating Russian attempts to tip the 2016 campaign in Trump’s favor — and whether the Trump camp pitched in to help Moscow with that effort.
According to Politico, Trump may be backing down on releasing the documents altogether.
Trump’s allies in Congress and on Fox News have suggested that releasing the documents may expose a vast conspiracy within the Department of Justice aimed at derailing Trump.
Several of the Congressmen calling most loudly for the documents to be released have stated publicly that they haven’t read them either.
Cover image: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar