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As Democrats lobbed political attacks at President Donald Trump for trying to get to the bottom of how disproved allegations his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election originated, the president said Friday his order to declassify documents is designed to get to the truth.
“[W]e want to be very transparent. So, as you know, I declassified everything. Everything they want. I put it under the auspices of the attorney general. He’s going to be in charge of it. He’s a great gentleman and a highly respected man,” Trump said Friday during a question-and-answer session with the media outside the White House before leaving for Japan, according to a White House media pool report.
“We’re exposing everything,” Trump said. “We’re being a word that you like: ‘transparent.’ We’re being — ultimately, we’re being transparent, and that’s what it’s about.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, used different words, labeling Trump’s order to declassify documents relating to intelligence officials’ actions in 2016 a “corrupt escalation of the president’s intention” to politicize the intelligence community.
“The clear intent of this abuse of power is to override longstanding rules governing classified information to serve the president’s political interests, advance his ‘deep state’ narrative, and target his political rivals,” Schiff said in a statement, Fox News reported.
Trump, however, said Friday that digging into into the roots of the Russia probe will get the American people the answers they have been denied.
The core of Trump’s contention is that allegations against him or members of his campaign were manufactured by a combination of political figures, intelligence community officials and other individuals who wanted to keep him out of office.
Allegations against Trump eventually culminated in a probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller, who, after almost two years of investigating, found there was no collusion.
“[T]hey’ll be able to see how this hoax; how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it started. It was a — an — attempted coup or an attempted takedown of the president of the United States. It should never, ever happen to anybody else. So it’s very important,” Trump said. “And you’re going to learn a lot. I hope it’s going to be nice, but perhaps it won’t be.”
The new investigation will be overseen by Attorney General William Barr, who will decide which documents to declassify.
Trump said Friday the nation should trust Barr’s judgment.
“I declassified, I guess, potentially, millions of pages of documents. I don’t know what it is. I have no idea. But I want to be transparent. Everybody wanted me to declassify. I’ve done it. And you can almost say [Barr is] the trustee,” the president said. “He’s a highly respected man. Our attorney general is in charge. Let’s see what he finds.”
Trump said unearthing who did what is not payback, but essential information.
“[Y]ou have to get down to what happened. Because what happened is a tremendous blight on our country. What happened — the investigation — they tried to do a takedown, and you can’t do that. And let me just tell you: This should never, ever happen to another president again,” he said.
“It’s the greatest hoax, probably, in the history of our country. And somebody has to get to the bottom of it. We’ll see. But for a long period of time, they’ve wanted me to declassify and I did.”
…..The Dems want a second shot at Bob Mueller, are very unhappy with the No Collusion Report. They should not be allowed to play this game any longer – no second chances – must get back to work. So bad for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2019
During the media session, Trump was asked about trying to work with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California.
“I want to do what’s good for the country. I think Nancy Pelosi is not helping this country. I think the Democrats are obstructionists. They’re hurting our country very, very badly, ” Trump said, noting that House Democrats are focused on investigating him, not passing legislation.
“We can pass so many different bills right now, but all they want to do is investigate because they failed with Robert Mueller and the Mueller report. They want to try and get a do-over of the Mueller report. It doesn’t work that way,” he added.