President Trump on Thursday ordered U.S. intelligence officials to fully cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into surveillance of members of his 2016 campaign, the White House said Thursday.
Trump also gave Barr “full and complete authority” to declassify information related to the investigation, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election,” Sanders said in the statement.
“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information,” that statement continued.
“Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” the press secretary claimed.
Statement on Presidential Memorandum signed tonight pic.twitter.com/wHx6l2lL5c
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) May 24, 2019
The White House also sent a memo to agency heads Thursday evening directing the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies as well as the heads of departments and agencies that include elements of the intelligence community to “promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with” his review into intelligence activities related to the 2016 presidential campaigns.
The memo also stipulates that Barr has the authority to declassify information or intelligence relating to his review and instructs him to consult with the intelligence community before taking such steps “to the extent he deems it practicable.”
Barr is working closely with the heads of the CIA, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to review the origins of the Russia investigation, CNN reported.
At a hearing last month, Barr said, “I think spying did occur” on the Trump campaign.
FBI officials have denied that the agency spied on the president’s campaign.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by Trump to replace James Comey, seemed to distance himself from Barr’s use of the term earlier this month when he told a Senate panel that he wouldn’t use the term “spying” to describe government investigations.
Former FBI Director James Comey also maintained that he had “no idea” what Barr was talking about when he brought up the claim of unauthorized spying.
“The FBI doesn’t spy, the FBI investigates,” Comey said on “CBS This Morning”. “We investigated a very serious allegation that Americans might be hooked up with the Russian effort to attack our democracy.”
Trump’s asserted that spying took place on his campaign last week:
My Campaign for President was conclusively spied on. Nothing like this has ever happened in American Politics. A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2019