Trump declassification order commences total war with the deep state

· September 18, 2018  
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President Trump speaks to Naval Academy grads
Alex Wong | Getty Images

After months of keeping his powder dry, President Trump has fired the first shot in his war on the unaccountable, unelected “fourth branch” of government, otherwise known as the deep state. By firing off his declassification and transparency order, the president has set up an imminent showdown with the federal bureaucracy that wants to maintain its grip on the levers of power in Washington D.C. 

On Monday evening, President Trump ordered the “immediate declassification” of materials related to the Russia investigation and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications used to spy on former campaign aide Carter Page. He has also directed the Department of Justice “to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.”

Transparency advocates and supporters of the president celebrated the order as an important step in restoring the chief executive’s duly elected mandate, which has been endlessly challenged, threatened, and blocked by Justice Department bureaucrats and special counsel Robert Mueller’s endless Russia investigation. Mueller’s probe, which has yet to uncover a single piece of evidence related to “Trump-Russia collusion,” continues to advance Moscow’s goal of sowing discord in the United States, while undermining the president’s capabilities.

The president’s directive followed months of lobbying from top conservative congressional leaders and some of his most influential supporters. They urged President Trump to declassify the FISA applications and Russia investigation materials, arguing that these radical transparency measures will show the public that the Russia investigation is a farce and that the Department of Justice and the FBI are in desperate need of immediate reform.

Democrats and their media allies go full anti-transparency

Democratic leaders and their allies in the legacy media are pulling out all the stops to convince the public that the president should not be allowed to use his declassification authority. Immediately following the president’s statement, they moved in lockstep, arguing that declassifying information and making it available to the public somehow interferes in active investigations. 

But as many have pointed out, declassification is the opposite of interference, and the president, as the leader of the executive branch, has command over decision-making at the Department of Justice. The spin coming from CNN, MSNBC, and Democrat leaders simply does not hold much intellectual weight.

Expect Rosenstein and the deep state to rebel against the order

There are concerns that the FBI and other intelligence agencies will attempt to slow-walk or completely rebel against the order to declassify and unredact the documents and text messages, given their consistent tendencies to rebel against administration orders. In the past, the FBI has used “national security” as an excuse to redact important facts about the Bureau’s conduct during the Russia investigation. 

It’s also important to remember that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who will inevitably play a major role in the declassification process, was responsible for appointing Robert Mueller. His investigation has yet to find any evidence of collusion, while costing U.S. taxpayers a small fortune. Rosenstein also signed off on several controversial FISA applications, which appear to have used the salacious and unverified Trump-Russia dossier as evidence against Trump campaign and transition officials. Rosenstein has every reason to continue to thwart these transparency efforts, because the end result will undoubtedly expose his reckless actions.

What’s next? 

Yes, the president ordered “immediate declassification,” but knowing how things work in Washington, the resulting stream of information may not come so quickly. While the order concerning the Carter Page FISA application is relatively cut and dried, declassifying text messages related to the Russia investigation will likely take some time. Given that the Justice Department may have to sort through materials that could deal with national security sources and methods, one can expect this often used excuse for classification and redaction to considerably delay the timeline of released materials. In order for the declassification process to succeed, the president may need to devote substantial resources to the process, even if that means personally overseeing it.


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Author: Jordan Schachtel

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review and editor of The Dossier for CRTV. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.