Being accused of ‘clear abuse of power’, the United States President Donald Trump has directed the release of selective classified surveillance documents. The order of declassification is a part of Trump’s effort to criticise the investigation into the Russian meddling in the election of 2016 and potential links with his campaign team.
On May 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to the US Justice Department for conducting investigations in the case and finding out if there are links between Russian authorities and the Trump campaign.
While the inquiry is ongoing, the US President took a highly unusual move on Monday afternoon. The White House announced that he had ordered the justice department as well as Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, to publish material that was being kept secret.
In a tweet on September 6, he had hinted at this decision, predicting “maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption” while attacking the so-called “Deep State” that he claims is working to undermine him.
He asked for the release of “all text messages relating to the Russia investigation” from several former senior FBI officials including James Comey, the former director, and Andrew McCabe, his former deputy. The President has accused both men, claiming them to be a part of politically motivated plot against him.
The order includes release of documents relating to the FBI’s investigation of Carter Page. He was an adviser to Trump’s election campaign in 2016 and was suspected by federal agents of conspiring with officials in Moscow.
Trump also requested the declassification of 21 pages from an application sent by the FBI to the foreign intelligence surveillance court for permission to continue surveilling Page in June 2017. Besides, he also asked for the publication of “all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection” with applications to the court relating to Page.
Apart from these, the release of “all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation” was also ordered by Trump. He is one of the senior officials, along with Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, whose text messages were ordered released by Trump.
Ohr is under attack from Trump as his wife has worked for Fusion GPS, which is a private intelligence firm that was involved in the production of an infamous “dossier” of allegations linking Trump to Russia.
Is this just another absurd act of the US President, or the insecurity that’s making him exploit the power?