On his final day at work, President Donald Trump gave the order to declassify FBI files on his alleged Russian ties during the 2016 campaign. Hours before leaving the White House, the President issued a memo. He instructed the Justice Department to declassify the FBI reports, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane.
Earlier in his term, Trump declared his intention to publicize the investigation results. He called it a “witch hunt” at the time, and vowed to release the confidential information. Neither Trump nor any other White House official reveals any information contained in the files. Trump only said that the files came from a binder of materials that the DOJ sent to the White House last month.
In a memo issued the evening of January 19, Trump wrote that “At my request, on December 30, 2020, the Department of Justice provided the White House with a binder of materials related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Portions of the documents in the binder have remained classified and have not been released to Congress or the public. I requested the documents so that a declassification review could be performed and so I could determine to what extent materials in the binder should be released in unclassified form.”
Some parts of the binder will remain redacted despite Trump’s order to declassify FBI files. Two days ago, the agency requested to keep the entire binder confidential for security reasons. It believed that all materials should remain classified. However, some items are particularly crucial and should at least be redacted. “This is my final determination under the declassification review and I have directed the Attorney General to implement the reductions proposed in the FBI’s January 17 submission and return to the White House an appropriately redacted copy,” he added. Therefore, the material for release will not be complete but instead will have some areas blacked out.
The investigation stemmed from accusations that the Trump campaign actively collaborated with Russia to influence the 2016 Presidential election. The Department of Justice tapped Special Counsel Robert Mueller to look into alleged ties between the Trump campaign but found no evidence of collusion. The Mueller report did say that the Russian government actively interfered in the 2016 presidential election and violated US criminal law. However, the investigation failed to produce any evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated or conspired with Russia in its election interference activities.
Political analysts think that the order to declassify FBI files is a way for President Trump to discredit the Russia probe and exonerate the campaign team. The timing and the practical impact remains unclear, as the President left within a few hours after issuing the memo.
Last Day In Office
Trump also delivered a 20-minute farewell address earlier, deliberately refusing to mention his successor, Democrat Joe Biden. Instead, he referred to the incoming presidency as the “next” and “new” administration. He did acknowledge in his farewell address that he will “hand power over to a new administration at noon on Wednesday” – when Trump’s term ends and Biden’s begins. He prayed for the success of the next administration.
The President indicated no plans of attending Biden’s inauguration and is flying to his Florida home instead. Heis the fourth President in US history not to attend his successor’s inaugural.
Watch the ABC news video covering President Donald Trump’s farewell address outlining his accomplishments:
Do you agree with the order to declassify FBI files? Will this bring vindication to the FBI’s allegations of collusion with Russia? Or, is it too late by this point? Let us know what you think by sharing your thoughts below.