In an unprecedented move that stunned current and former intelligence officials, President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the public release of highly classified documents and text messages related to the FBI investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russian Federation.
According to Sanders' statement, Trump also directed the Justice Department to publicly release in full the text messages of Comey, Ohr, former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former FBI special agent Peter Strzok that are related to the Russian Federation investigation.
While it's unclear what exactly will be revealed in the documents, Republicans who have been urging the president to declassify the material posit that it will be evident that the unverified dossier put together by former British spy Christopher Steele played an outsize role in the approval of surveillance warrants of Trump campaign associates.
The decision was made at the request of a number of congressional committees and "for reasons of transparency", White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday.
"As long as he tells the truth, it's 100 percent", Trump said, before departing the White House to visit storm-ravaged North and SC.
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William Banks, a Syracuse University national security expert, said that by making the information public, Trump is essentially overruling the decisions of career officials intent on keeping it from foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups and other adversaries.
Democrats and former national security officials have said Trump's directive is a risky one - threatening to undermine an investigation of his own campaign and potentially revealing confidential law enforcement sources.
The declassified documents include text messages from former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. Page has since left the bureau and Strzok was sacked earlier this year by the FBI for his actions during the investigation; including moments where they discussed communications with the media and published stories, they considered using as a "pretext" to conduct more interviews of Trump campaign personnel.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Monday, "the President is potentially risking the lives of our patriots by compromising sources and methods, all so he can advance falsehoods and false narratives that distract from the truth of the Trump-Russia scandal".
An inspector general may be able to obtain that information during an investigation and a judge may have occasion to review it to settle an evidence dispute, but a target of an application like Page "certainly doesn't get to look at them", Chesney said.
There is no set timeline or format for the release of the materials at this time. "We're on the verge of having the president do more declassification".