Trump’s call to declassify Russia collusion, Clinton documents sparks fierce debate online
President Trump’s decision Tuesday to authorize the declassification of all documents related to the high-profile Russia investigation and the FBI probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state was embraced by supporters and brushed off by detractors.
Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that he wanted all relevant files pertaining to “the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax” released. He said he also wants all relevant documents pertaining to the Clinton email probe.
“No redactions!” he tweeted.
Trump’s demand came a day after he was released by Walter Reed Medical Center after a brief stay after coming down with COVID-19. The presidential election is headed into the final stretch and Trump seems to have some ground to make up, according to recent polls.
The president’s announcement led to fierce exchanges on social media.
Gen. Michael Hayden, the former CIA director under President George W. Bush, got into a public clash on Twitter with Richard Grenell, the former acting Director of National Intelligence under Trump.
Grenell had tweeted a link to an exclusive Fox News story about John Ratcliffe, the administration’s top intelligence official, and the declassification of documents that revealed former CIA Director John Brennan briefed former President Obama on Clinton’s purported “plan” to tie then-candidate Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server” ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to a source.
Grenell, a vocal Trump supporter, tweeted that the report was “proof” that Obama and Joe Biden, his vice president at the time, “directed their administration to use the powers of government to attack” Trump’s campaign and transition team.
“The Susan Rice [Obama’s national security adviser] email to herself after the Oval Office meeting was part of the coverup,” Grenell wrote.
Hayden, who has spoken out about Trump in the past and announced that he is supporting Biden, responded to Grenell, “You’re an a**hole. Really.”
Grenell responded, “I see you don’t like to be exposed. And so you resort to name calling. Transparency isn’t political.”
Last week, Ratliffe wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that said in late July 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies obtained “insight” into Russian spycraft alleging that Clinton, who was running for president, had “approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against” Trump.
Ratcliffe added that American intelligence agencies do “not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”
Trump supporters have long insisted that the investigations into his campaign and transition were the result of the inability of Democrats to get over his win in 2016. Trump supporters took to Twitter to praise the development.
Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of Turning Point USA, tweeted, “Let me get this straight: Hillary Clinton planned, financed, and executed the Russian hoax. The intel agencies knew about & briefed Obama on it…and on one seems to care. Where is Adam Schiff? Where is Rachel Maddow? This is a bombshell and they’re completely ignoring it.”
Mark Levin, the host of “Life, Liberty & Levin,” tweeted out the same Fox News link, and said, “Caught red handed! This is big! Way back on March 2, 2017, I said Obama had to know.”
Some of Trump’s critics took to Twitter to downplay the significance of the announcement and tried to frame it as a last-minute sign of desperation for his campaign.
Garrett M. Graff, the director of Aspen Institute’s Cybersecurity Program, appeared to mock the president’s announcement and seemed to poke fun at the president’s mental state after receiving treatment for coronavirus, which included the steroid dexamethasone. He asked if Trump’s decision was based on “steroid-induced rage.”
Andrew S. Weiss, the James Family Chair and vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment, called the developments “total national security malpractice.”
“DNI Ratcliffe memo says Trump directed him to declassify unenlightening/unconvincing cherrypicked snippets of CIA docs to hype false claim that Russian interference was “hoax” pushed by Clinton and John O. Brennan, the former head of the CIA. He ended the tweet, “#embarassment.”
Allies of the president have criticized officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, claiming that the directors have been blocking the release of documents.
Trump posted on Tuesday, “All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country.”
“Act!!!” he tweeted.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and the Associated Press contributed to this report