Donald Trump USA News Today

President Donald Trump has granted Attorney General William Barr new powers to review and potentially release classified information related to the origins of the Russia investigation, a move aimed at accelerating Barr’s inquiry into whether U.S. officials improperly surveilled Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump on Thursday directed the U.S. intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Barr’s investigation of the origins of the multiyear probe of whether his campaign colluded with Russia. Former intelligence officials and Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump’s move, which marked an escalation in his efforts to “investigate the investigators” as he works to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe . Trump’s announcement came amid mounting Democratic calls to bring impeachment proceedings against him. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review the sensitive intelligence underpinnings of the investigation. Such a move could create fresh tensions within the FBI and other intelligence agencies, which have historically resisted such demands. Trump is giving Barr a new tool in his investigation, empowering him to unilaterally unseal documents that the Justice Department has historically regarded as among its most highly secret. Warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, for instance, are not made public — not even to the person on whom the surveillance was authorized. Trump explicitly granted Barr declassification power — noting it would not automatically extend to another attorney…

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