Politics

Ratcliffe: We Can’t Declassify All Of Russiagate’s Secrets

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Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says he shared thousands of documents with U. S. Attorney John Durham and is counting on the now-special counsel to get the truth out to the public about what he views to be massive wrongdoing by those who conducted the Trump-Russia investigation. But, the spy chief stressed, that doesn’t mean all the documents given to the federal prosecutor should be declassified, as some Republicans, including President Trump, have discussed.

“Between my predecessor Richard Grenell in an acting capacity and myself, we have declassified most of the intelligence community documents that would be suitable for the public to see, that wouldn’t jeopardize sources and methods,” Ratcliffe said in a phone interview with the Washington Examiner on Thursday. “There are others, many many documents — I think it’s been out there that I’ve provided literally thousands of documents to John Durham, but many of those do contain sources and methods that we can’t make public for a number of reasons, including to jeopardize any investigation that’s going there. So I think the level of cooperation — I’ve given them everything that they’ve asked for.”

Republican allies of Trump had high expectations for Durham leading up to the election, and some even insisted there should be full transparency with mass declassifications of secrets they expected would be damning for the Obama administration and top intelligence and law enforcement officials in what has become known as the “Russiagate” controversy. In early October, it looked as though they got their wish. Trump tweeted a call for all of the Russia investigation documents to be made public.

“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!” Trump tweeted, adding that “all Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act!!!”

But following a federal court order, Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, told the judge later that month that the president’s tweets were not declassification orders and were not meant to reveal any further information related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Despite rampant speculation that Durham might release a report prior to the conclusion of the presidential race, that didn’t happen, and Trump even vented about it. But Attorney General William Barr did reveal this week that, days before the November election, he elevated Durham to special counsel status, tasked with investigating any violations of law related to the inquiries conducted by the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane operation and, later, Mueller’s team. The order, which was revealed on Tuesday, provides the federal prosecutor from Connecticut further protection against the prospect of President-elect Joe Biden trying to shut down the criminal inquiry.

So far, Biden has not been asked about and has not said whether he would allow Durham’s work to continue during his administration. Democrats such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff have attacked Durham’s appointment as special counsel and suggested how Biden could undo it.

Barr said Durham should submit a final report once he has concluded his investigation so that the public can learn what he has uncovered.

“I don’t know what conclusions he is going to come to, but people deserve the truth — they deserve a full accounting of it,” Ratcliffe said.

Durham’s inquiry, which began in 2019, has already led to one guilty plea, with Kevin Clinesmith admitting that he fraudulently changed the wording of a CIA email to say that former Trump campaign associate Carter Page was “not a source” for th… (Read more)

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