President Trump was not directly ordering the declassification of all documents related to the Russia investigation when he tweeted earlier this month that he had “fully authorized the Declassification” all information, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in a federal court filing on Tuesday.
“The President indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents,” Meadows wrote.
He added that the president’s statements “related to the authorization he had provided the Attorney General to declassify documents as part of his ongoing review of intelligence activities relating to the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters.”
Meadows said in the filing that he was submitting the declaration “to make clear the president’s intent.” He also wrote that the president’s tweets “do not require altering any redactions on any record at issue in these or any other cases.”
But his explanation appears to contradict the substance of Mr. Trump’s tweets, since the president specifically stated, “No redactions.”
“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!” Mr. Trump wrote in a tweet on October 6. In a second tweet on the same day, he said “all Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago.”
A federal judge last week ordered the White House to clarify whether the tweets overruled the Trump administration’s classification of some portions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report and related FBI interviews. Although the Justice Department argued last week that “there is no order requiring wholesale declassification or disclosure of documents at issue in this matter,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said that he needed to hear directly from the president or from someone who had spoken to the president.
Mueller’s report and classified FBI interviews are the subject of lawsuits related to the Freedom of Information Act.
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