According to a senior Trump administration Pentagon official, Justice Department officials appear to be maneuvering to block the release of documents from the so-called “Russiagate” controversy.
Kash Patel appeared on Fox News on Sunday and defended former President Donald Trump’s claims that he issued sweeping document declassification orders after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago compound and seized more a dozen boxes of materials in an investigation that could have a national effect. security implications.
MARK MEADOWS SAYS DOJ TRIED TO REMOVE ‘MINUTES’ FROM RUSSIAGATE MATERIALS BEFORE BIDEN’S SWEARING
Patel, who served as acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller’s chief of staff and held other high-ranking positions in the Trump administration, said Trump had named him his representative to the National Archives, and that they were locked in a “bureaucratic battle” over documents that were brought to his Florida club.
Because there appears to be an “ongoing” counterintelligence investigation, he argued, “you will never be allowed to see the Russiagate documents or any other documents that President Trump has legally declassified, and they’ll hide it from the public,” Patel said. Sunday morning futures host Maria Bartiromo.
Special Counsel John Durham is investigating the origins and conduct of the Russia inquiry, which Republicans have long criticized as a long campaign to drag out the 45th president. Patel had previously claimed on January 20, 2021, Trump’s last day in office, that “99%” transparency had been achieved, but on Sunday he reduced that estimate to 60%.
There remains an air of mystery over the documents covered by Trump’s eleventh-hour declassification memo at the end of his administration. The memo spoke of a binder of documents related to the Hurricane Crossfire investigation that Trump said the Justice Department provided to the White House at his request on Dec. 30, 2020.
“I hereby declassify the remaining documents in the filing cabinet. This is my final decision in the declassification review and I have directed the Attorney General to implement the redactions proposed in the January 17 submission of the FBI and return a duly redacted copy to the White House.” said Trump.
There were previous FISA-related instructions, which came in the form of tweets and a White House press release, that a judge ruled in May 2020 did not constitute formal declassification orders. Trump tweeted again about authorizing the “full declassification” of Russiagate documents in October 2020, after which the Justice Department argued there was no order, and the leader White House Cabinet Secretary Mark Meadows submitted an affidavit in which he said Trump told him his Twitter statements were not “self-executing declassification orders.” A judge later accepted the White House statement as quashing Trump’s tweets.
In a post on his social media platform Truth Social on Friday, Trump claimed a “standing order” allows him to declassify documents as soon as they leave the Oval Office.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
FBI agents recovered 11 sets of classified information, including some marked top secret, from among 20 boxes of items during Monday’s raid, according to unsealed search warrant documents Friday. The unsealed documents also show the former president is being investigated for potential violations of the Espionage Act and possible obstruction of justice. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Although no president has ever been prosecuted for mishandling classified documents, some experts dispute the idea that something can suddenly be considered declassified and argue that the president must follow a formal process instead. As for Trump’s new statement, they argue that what he described is not possible or at least highly unlikely.
Patel, who was also a lead investigator for the House Intelligence Committee, said Congress “has a monumental lift” ahead of them, alluding to the investigations Republicans have pledged to carry out if they take control of the country. one of the two bedrooms in November. “They better start subpoenaing these documents immediately and putting these people in front of the American public,” Patel said. He also criticized Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying they had become “political thugs”.