President Trump pumped the brakes Friday on his earlier order to release classified data included in a FISA warrant on his former campaign foreign policy aide Carter Page and texts among a number of FBI agents, citing concerns from Justice Department officials that the declassification could have a “perceived negative impact” on the Russian interference probe being steered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents,” Trump tweeted. “They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe.”
He said key allies also “called to ask not to release.”
As a result “the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis,” Trump wrote. “I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at).”
But he didn’t rule out releasing the information on his own.
“In the end, I can always declassify if it proves necessary,” he said. “Speed is very important to me – and everyone!”
On Monday Trump ordered the declassification of 20 pages of the FISA warrant application on Carter Paige, whose association with Russian operatives put him on the intelligence community’s radar in 2013 after authorities broken up a Russian espionage ring in New York.
And, he also authorized the release of texts between former FBI Director James Comey, former agent Peter Strzok and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who have both since been fired from their positions as well as Lisa Page, a former FBI agent with whom Strzok was having an affair, and Russian crime expert Bruce Ohr, a lawyer at the Justice Department.