BREAKING: Trump Approves Declassification of Documents Related to 2016 Election Spying

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Posted: May 23, 2019 8:22 PM
BREAKING: Trump Approves Declassification of Documents Related to 2016 Election Spying

Source: AP Photo/Files

Late Thursday evening, President Trump granted Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to declassify information relevant to the investigation into how spying on the Trump campaign started in 2016.

"Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election," the White House released in a statement Thursday evening. "The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions."

The declassification of documents applies to the Department of State, Treasury, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.

The White House also released the following memo. Bolding is mine. 

May 23, 2019
 
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
            THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
            THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
            THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
            THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
            THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
            THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
            THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
           
SUBJECT:    Agency Cooperation with Attorney General's Review of Intelligence Activities Relating to the 2016 Presidential Campaigns

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1.  Agency Cooperation.   The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters.  The heads of elements of the intelligence community, as defined in 50 U.S.C. 3003(4), and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.

Sec. 2.  Declassification and Downgrading.   With respect to any matter classified under Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009 (Classified National Security Information), the Attorney General may, by applying the standard set forth in either section 3.1(a) or section 3.1(d) of Executive Order 13526, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General's review referred to in section 1 of this memorandum.  Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element or department.  This authority is not delegable and applies notwithstanding any other authorization or limitation set forth in Executive Order 13526.  

Sec. 3.  General Provisions.   (a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  The authority in this memorandum shall terminate upon a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, unless expressly extended by the President.

(d)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(e)  The Attorney General is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

DONALD J. TRUMP

Based on the memo, Barr will still have some restrictions surrounding what he can declassify after conversations with the named agencies in order to protect sources, methods and to comply with the law. 

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A number of Republican lawmakers have been calling on President Trump to make this move for over a year.

This is post has been updated with additional information.