President Trump says he will release the full and unredacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants and related documents used by the FBI in its probe of his campaign, now that special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded his investigation. "At the right time, we will be absolutely releasing" them, Mr. Trump told Fox News' Sean Hannity Wednesday night.
Mr. Trump later walked back that claim, tweeting at the time he had been told it "may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe." The FBI has released redacted surveillance records from .the full unredacted version of documents related the FISA application to surveil former campaign aide Carter Page.
"I do. I have plans to declassify and release. I have plans to absolutely release," the president told Hannity. "I have some very talented people working for me, lawyers, and they really didn't want me to do it early on. ... A lot of people wanted me to do it a long time ago. I'm glad I didn't do it. We got a great result without having to do it, but we will. One of the reasons that my lawyers didn't want me to do it is they said, if I do it, they'll call it a form of obstruction."
The redacted versions of the FISA documents that have been made public indicated FBI told the intelligence court in applying for the wiretap on Page that he "has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government." The agency also told the court that "the FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government." Page has denied the allegations.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, said Wednesday he wanted to ask Attorney General William Barr to set up a new special counsel to look into the FISA warrant process to determine what led to the Russia investigation in the first place.
Mr. Trump told Hannity he wants to "get to the bottom" of how the narrative began. Mr. Trump said that when he told people "there could be somebody spying on my campaign, a lot of things happened -- it went wild out there."
"We'll have to see how it all started, but I'm going to leave that to other people, including the attorney general and others, to make that determination," the president said. "Fifty years, 100 years from now -- if someone tries the same thing, they have to know the penalty will be very very great if and when they get caught."