Administration

Meadows says Trump did not order declassification of Russia documents

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Tuesday that President Trump’s tweets about declassifying documents related to the Russia investigation were not an order to declassify or release further documents.

Meadows said in a sworn declaration in federal court that Trump’s tweets earlier this month instead merely referred to the authority given to Attorney General William Barr by the president last year to declassify material related to the Russia investigation.

“The President indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents,” Meadows wrote in the declaration filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

“The President’s statements do not require altering any redactions on any record at issue in these or any other cases, including, but not limited to, any redactions taken pursuant to any discretionary FOIA exemptions,” he added.

A federal judge had asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file a declaration from Trump or one of his aides explaining whether the president meant to declassify former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report without redactions, which would directly conflict with the position of the DOJ.

Trump issued a flurry of tweets in early October stating that he had declassified all documents related to the “Russia Hoax,” a phrase he often uses to refer to Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and the 2016 Trump campaign’s contacts with Moscow.

“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax,” Trump tweeted Oct. 6. “Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!”

DOJ attorneys previously argued that the tweets should not be considered actual declassification orders.

The declaration from Meadows came in response to orders in two federal cases seeking documents from Mueller’s investigation.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center as well as Buzzfeed and CNN have filed lawsuits to gain access to more documents from the investigation.

Tags Department of Justice DOJ Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mark Meadows Robert Mueller russia hoax Russia Investigation William Barr

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