Trump Declassifies Documents in Brazen Authoritarian Move

It's just a good thing everyone is talking about Donald Trump's dick today, because that's definitely the most important news. I mean, as long as you ignore that, last night, the president selectively declassified documents related to the Russia probe, in an attempt to hurt his "enemies."

Ken Dilanian and Mike Memoli at NBC News report:
In an unprecedented move that stunned current and former intelligence officials, [Donald] Trump on Monday ordered the public release of highly classified documents and text messages related to the FBI investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia.

A statement by the White House press office said Trump had directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Department of Justice, and the FBI to declassify about 20 pages of a highly sensitive application for surveillance against Carter Page, a one-time Trump foreign policy aide.

The documents Trump is releasing reflect a specific request, down to the page numbers, made by the Republican members of the House judiciary and intelligence committees this summer. Justice and intelligence officials had resisted releasing the information on the grounds that it was too sensitive.

Trump also ordered the agencies to publicly release, in full, all text messages relating to the Russia investigation of former FBI Director James Comey, Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and current Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, a Russian organized crime expert. Those are all people Trump has criticized as out to get him.
This is extraordinary for two reasons in particular:

1. It's another brazen escalation of Trump's aggressive contempt for the rule of law and a rank abuse of power.

2. All of the people named had Top Secret clearances, which gave them access to sensitive materials. But: "A U.S. official with direct knowledge told NBC News that the agencies would not be able to conduct a damage assessment on the text messages, because there are too many of them." Which means that the declassification could reveal state secrets, something about which the president ostensibly should care.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D.-Calif., the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said he had been told the release of these materials could compromise intelligence sources and methods.

"[Donald] Trump, in a clear abuse of power, has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative," Schiff said in a statement.

The president has the authority to declassify any secret in the government, but experts could not recall a president doing so in a manner that seemed to leave aside any concerns raised by his own intelligence advisers.

"This is certainly unprecedented," said Robert Litt, the former general counsel of the ODNI during the Obama administration.

"Between the compromise of sources and methods, the impact on the willingness of people to cooperate, and the potential of selective release of classified material for partisan purposes, I think intelligence officials will find it very troubling."
I certainly find it troubling. I frankly question the patriotism of any American who doesn't.

This is such an unprecedented, extraordinary, gravely serious event. It is the President of the United States interfering in an ongoing investigation with a profound abuse of his power, demonstrating overt hostility for the rule of law.

It's yet another signal that the imperious scofflaw occupying the White House will not be constrained by norms or ethics or laws. He does whatever the fuck he wants, to get whatever the fuck he wants.

We really and truly need a more comprehensive plan than "vote," folks.

Because I don't see Donald Trump just reasonably accepting the outcome of any election that doesn't go his way. Do you?

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