Watch CBS News

Trump orders DNI, DOJ to declassify documents related to Russia investigation

Trump on Carter Page surveillance documents
Trump calls for end to Russia probe after Carter Page surveillance records released 05:07

President Trump is ordering the declassification of several documents related to the government's Russia investigation, including pages of the FISA application to surveil former Trump adviser Carter Page. He also directed the Department of Justice to release FBI reports about Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department attorney, and the unredacted text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Ohr. Ohr is the only one of those listed who is still employed by the Trump administration. 

Citing transparency and the requests of "a number" of congressional committees, Mr. Trump directed the Director of National Intelligence, the Justice Department and the FBI to declassify pages from the June 2017 FISA application to surveil Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump, as part of the government's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

Other documents that are to be declassified in the FISA application include FBI reports of Russia investigation interviews with Ohr, who had had conversations with Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who was hired to compile unverified, unflattering information about Mr. Trump — the so-called "dossier" — during the presidential campaign. Conservative lawmakers have been publicly asking the president to declassify some of these documents. They believe that the FISA court incorrectly allowed the surveillance on the basis of the material in the dossier. 

The president has also called for the release of all FBI reports of interviews linked to all FISA applications to surveil Page.

It is not yet known when the government will release the documents. A U.S. official says the declassification process ordered by the president will be a "complicated" matter. The documentation was characterized by the official as large, and the official also said that there is no time frame for the release. It is also possible that the material will be released piecemeal.

Last week, CBS News' Norah O'Donnell spoke to FBI Director Christopher Wray and asked him about the president's suggestion that he'd declassify some documents and about Congress' request for FBI material. Though he said he respects and embraces Congress' oversight role, Wray told her, "We have to protect sources and methods. And I think when cooler heads prevail, there's a way to make sure that Congress gets the access it needs, can conduct the oversight it needs. And we can make sure that we protect sources and methods. And I'm not going to yield on my commitment to sources and methods."

Andres Triay and Olivia Gazis contributed to this report. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.