Time to end the Russian collusion boondoggle.
There is growing buzz among Hill Republicans that President Trump will act this week to declassify some key documents in the Trump-Russia investigation. Some in the GOP had hoped the documents would be released weeks ago — they’ve been asking with increasing urgency — but an internal White House debate apparently held that up. In any event, there are new GOP hopes that this will be the week. If the White House does act, these are the documents, some or all, that might be released:
1) More of the Carter Page FISA wiretap application. The release of a heavily-redacted version of the secret court application, and subsequent renewals, to wiretap the sometime Trump foreign policy has already shown that the FBI relied on the unverified Trump dossier. Now, Republicans want the president to declassify the rest of the application, or, failing that, to release about 20 key pages of it.
What is in it? Remember that fired FBI director James Comey, in an interview with Fox News in connection with his new book, said that, yes, the dossier was included in the Page surveillance request, but that, “My recollection was, it was part of a broader mosaic of facts that were laid before the FISA judge to obtain a FISA warrant.” The 20 or so unreleased pages of the Page FISA application are said to shed light on Comey’s “mosaic” comment — that is, they will purportedly reveal more of the FBI’s reason for wiretapping Page. So far, no one in the public knows what those reasons are.
2) The Bruce Ohr 302s. It’s possible that the Carter Page documents will be all that are declassified. But if more is released, the Ohr documents might be among them. The 302s refer to the FBI reports of its interviews with top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Remember that in the fall of 2016, with the presidential campaign going strong, the FBI decided to hire Christopher Steele to search for dirt on candidate Donald Trump. But the FBI had to terminate Steele as a source because he talked to the press. (Steele desperately wanted to help defeat Trump and tried hard to get his dossier allegations into the media.) But once the FBI terminated Steele, the bureau still used him as an informant. The method to do that was to have Steele talk to Ohr, and then Ohr talk to the FBI to pass on what Steele had told him. Those conversations between Ohr and the FBI were memorialized in so-called 302 reports. There are a dozen of them, and Republicans believe they will reveal a lot about what the FBI was doing in the Trump-Russia investigation at the end of the campaign, during the transition, and during the early months of the Trump presidency.
3) The Gang of 8 documents. This appears to be a grab-bag category referring to evidence the FBI presented to the so-called Gang of 8 — the chair and ranking member of House and Senate intelligence committees plus the majority and minority leader of House and Senate. The documents are said to shed light on what Republicans call “FISA abuse,” but it is not clear what they are.