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Trump: Justice Dept. Watchdog To Review Release Of Russia Documents


President Donald Trump indicated in a post on Twitter on Friday that the declassification of various materials related to the Russia investigation will be delayed due in part to concerns raised by key U.S. allies.

Trump said the Justice Department inspector general will review the release of the materials but noted he could still ultimately decide to declassify the documents on his own.

"I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents. They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe," Trump tweeted. "Also, key Allies' called to ask not to release."

"Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at)," he added. "In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me - and everyone!"

On Monday, Trump made the unprecedented move to direct the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department to declassify documents related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application on former foreign policy aide Carter Page.

Trump also directed the Justice Department to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation by former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and current Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

The president has repeatedly accused Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, and Ohr of orchestrating the Russia investigation that he routinely describes as a "witch hunt."

The move has been criticized by Democrats and some former intelligence officials, who note special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is ongoing.

Congressman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, went so far as to call the decision to declassify the materials a "clear abuse of power."

A report from Politico on Thursday said Democratic operatives are concerned Trump could use the release of the documents as an "October surprise" to motivate his political base ahead of the midterm elections.

Politico noted the release of the documents could be spread out over the weeks leading up to the election, threatening to hijack several news cycles and giving Trump plenty to tweet about.

(Photo: Marc Nozell)

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