Published: Sat, May 25, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Trump gives Barr power to declassify intelligence related to Russian Federation probe

Trump gives Barr power to declassify intelligence related to Russian Federation probe

Late Thursday, the president issued a declassification order to Attorney General William Barr, granting him the authority to declassify any information concerning the Obama administration's surveillance activities during the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, in a almost two-year investigation involving dozens of federal prosecutors and FBI agents, found that the Trump campaign did not coordinate or cooperate with Russian efforts to meddle in the election - which included efforts to sow discord on social media.

The president's move gives Barr broad powers to unveil carefully guarded intelligence secrets about the Russian Federation investigation, which the attorney general requested to allow him to quickly carry out his review, according to the memo.

His critics argue that Barr is parroting the president's loaded wording, when surveillance was a proper part of a counterintelligence investigation looking at whether Russians were trying to influence Trump's campaign aides. The Attorney General is now conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters. Reports indicate that much of the information used as evidence in the Mueller investigation came from data sharing by other members of the Five Eyes-the intelligence alliance that ties together the agencies of the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

A source also told Fox News that Barr is working "collaboratively" on Durham's investigation with FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Some former intelligence officials and Democrats worry that Barr will cherry-pick intelligence to paint a misleading picture about the roots of the probe.

The president made the declaration in a trio of tweets.

"The coverup has entered a new and risky phase".

"Democrat Adam Schiff calls transparency in federal investigations 'un-American, '" the Daily Wire reporter Ryan Saavedra said.

"While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies".

Thursday's move further solidifies Barr's position in Trump's eyes as a legal warrior on fighting on his behalf.

Trump announced the declassification on Twitter, promising that it would "ensure that all Americans learn the truth" about the probe that has cast a shadow over the first two years of his presidency and "restore confidence in our public institutions". Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element or department.

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