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Trump formally declassifies Russia documents over objections of FBI

Trump says he approved materials in a foot-tall binder of FBI documents "be declassified to the maximum extent possible."

Updated: January 20, 2021 - 12:19am

Just hours before departing office, President Trump on Tuesday evening formally completed the declassification of a large trove of Russia probe documents, overruling objections posed by the FBI in a last bid effort to keep memos secret.

Trump revealed in a statement issued by the White House that the materials were not previously shared with Congress or the public and he received them on Dec. 30 in a binder, determining they ought to be made public. The binder is about a foot tall, according to officials who have seen it.

"I determined that the materials in that binder should be declassified to the maximum extent possible," the president said.

The effort to release the materials, however, hit a bump when the FBI objected on Sunday to a complete release of the information. The president nonetheless ordered them released but allowed for some modest redactions to be made.

"As part of the iterative process of the declassification review, under a cover letter dated January 17, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted its continuing objection to any further declassification of the materials in the binder and also, on the basis of a review that included Intelligence Community equities, identified the passages that it believed it was most crucial to keep from public disclosure. I have determined to accept the redactions proposed for continued classification by the FBI in that January 17 submission."

Just the News has already reported the materials include an FBI memo summarizing an interview agents did in fall 2017 with anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, in which he acknowledged his motives for leaking the Russia collusion narrative during the 2016 U.S. election as well as tasking orders for another confidential human source to spy on the Trump campaign by posing as someone seeking a job.

Officials said they expected the first materials to surface in public by midday Wednesday.

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