Attorney General William Barr has confirmed Robert Mueller has delivered his report upon completing his investigation into Russia meddling in 2016.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Wednesday he intends to release classified documents the FBI used to launch a probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election as he and his allies call for a deeper look into the origins of that investigation.
In a 45-minute interview on Fox News in which Trump attacked his critics and touted a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe that found “no collusion” with Russia, Trump said his attorneys initially advised him not to release the documents used to secure a wiretap on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
“I do, I have plans to declassify and release,” Trump told Fox. “I have plans to absolutely release.”
Trump, who had previously ordered the release of the documents before reversing course, also used the interview to criticize opponents and tout what he described as progress on his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
► Trump added his name to a chorus of Republicans calling for the resignation of Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and an outspoken Trump critic. Schiff, who has continued to question the president’s actions during the 2016 campaign, faced similar calls from Trump aides earlier in the week.
“He should be forced out of office,” Trump told Fox. “He is a disgrace to our country.”
Schiff, D-Calif., has shrugged off the criticism. “I’m more than used to attacks from my GOP colleagues and I would expect nothing less,” he told CNN earlier this week.
► The president demurred on a question about whether he would consider pardoning some of his former associates caught up in the Russia investigation, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to investigators about meetings with Russians during the presidential transition.
He cooperated with Mueller under a plea agreement and still awaits sentencing.
“I don’t want to talk about pardons now, but I can say it’s so sad on so many levels,” Trump said.
► Trump said he was planning to go to California in two weeks and “have a news conference there” to discuss the progress of his border wall. Trump has frequently claimed progress is being made on the wall, though he also acknowledged the work is focused on repairing and replacing existing barriers, not adding additional barriers to parts of the border that now have none.
“We will have hundreds of miles built fairly quickly,” Trump said.
► Trump said he was wary of criticizing Democratic presidential candidates and policies so early in the 2020 election cycle. On Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., however, Trump said, “I hit her too hard, too early and now it looks like she’s finished.”
Trump has been taking a victory lap since Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the Mueller report released on Sunday said he had not conspired with Russia. That summary also said Mueller did not exonerate Trump on questions about whether his actions constituted obstruction of justice.
The full Mueller report could be delivered to Congress in several weeks.
“I was the most innocent human being,” Trump told Fox.
In returning to the issue of classified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act documents, Trump and other Republicans have noted FBI agents relied in part on a dossier created by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to obtain a wiretap on Page.
Republicans have blasted that disclosure, noting that Steele had been hired by a research firm working for Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Swaths of the records were released last year and showed that the FBI also relied on other evidence. Those documents also show that the FBI disclosed to the court that agents believed Steele was probing for information that would be damaging to Trump.
Vast portions of those documents, however, were redacted because the FBI said they remain classified, including details about why the FBI believed Page was participating in Russia’s election meddling. Page was never charged with a crime in the case.
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