Trump delays release of Russia docs after 'key allies' raise concerns

Source: The Hill | September 21, 2018 | Morgan Chalfant

President Trump on Friday delayed the release of documents related to the Russia investigation that he wants declassified, saying the Justice Department’s inspector general is reviewing them after “key allies” raised concerns.

In a series of tweets, the president said he recently met with Justice Department officials about his request and that they agreed to release the documents, while noting that they expressed concerns that doing so could have a “perceived negative impact” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election.

Trump also warned that he could declassify the documents unilaterally “if it proves necessary.”

“Speed is very important to me – and everyone!” he tweeted.

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“I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents,” Trump tweeted Friday. “They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release.”

“Therefore, the Inspector General … has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary,” he tweeted.

The documents include a highly secret application for a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Republicans allege that the FBI improperly used the so-called Steele dossier, which includes salacious allegations about Trump’s ties to Moscow, in applying for the warrant to surveil Page.

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Trump’s Friday tweets signal that U.S. allies have voiced concerns with releasing the documents.

Meanwhile, the president told Hill.TV in an interview this week that he had not reviewed the documents but had been asked by “many people” to release them.

“I have had many people ask me to release them,” Trump said. “Not that I didn’t like the idea, but I wanted to wait. I wanted to see what, you know, where it was all going.”

“And I think this whole, it’s a hoax,” he added. “You know Gregg Jarrett wrote a book called the Russian Hoax. It actually is a hoax. I call it a witch hunt, but it’s a hoax. Beyond a witch hunt.”

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