White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders claimed the US President had urged the material to be released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department (DOJ) "at the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency". "It is a totally illegal Witch Hunt!" "The things that have been found over the last couple of weeks about text messages back and forth are a disgrace to our nation".
US President Donald Trump has ordered "immediate declassification" of materials related to the surveillance of his campaign aide Carter Page, as well all text messages related to the Russian Federation investigation.
A spokesman for the Department of Justice commented on Trump's order, saying: "When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America's national security interests". Ohr was then the associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.
The Carter Page warrant was released in heavily redacted form in July, amid controversy over the Federal Bureau of Investigation allegedly using the Democratic National Committee- and Hillary Clinton-funded Steele dossier as grounds for the renewal without informing the FISA court of the Democratic connection.
The declassification order includes redacted portions of the FISA warrant the FBI obtained to spy on Trump associate Page, all FBI notes on interviews related to obtaining the warrant on Page, and all FBI notes on interviews with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr related to the Russian Federation investigation.
In morning tweets apparently quoting from a television appearance by Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, Trump wrote, "What will be disclosed is that there was no basis for these FISA Warrants, that the important information was kept from the court, there's going to be a disproportionate influence of the (Fake) Dossier".
Trump's supporters in Congress have argued that releasing the full document would show the unfair nature of the surveillance.
And the No. 3 Republican in the House, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, tweeted that Trump made the right call.
But Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, called Trump's decision a "clear abuse of power" meant to advance a "false narrative" to help in his defense from Mueller's probe.
"The President shouldn't be declassifying documents in order to undermine an investigation into his campaign or pursue vendettas against political enemies", Warner said. The FBI released a heavily redacted version of the application earlier this year, as intelligence experts maintain that sources and methods could be compromised if too much information is revealed.
"Foreign sources with information useful for USA national security may stop cooperating, or be dissuaded from cooperating in the first place, with US agencies", Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA officer now with Georgetown University, told VOA via email. "People are less willing to cooperate".