President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE and Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Intel officials say Iran, Russia seeking to influence election Greenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox MORE have moved to declassify a document that counters the intelligence finding that Russia attempted to get Trump elected in 2016, Reuters reported Thursday.
Three U.S. government officials told Reuters that the president and his intelligence chief have advocated for the document’s release.
But two officials said their calls for declassification have been met with opposition from within the intelligence agencies, with some objecting that such a release would be too close to Election Day.
Ratcliffe in an Oct. 15 letter to the inspector general for intelligence obtained by Reuters said he wanted to declassify the document after House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesSunday shows preview: Coronavirus cases surge in the Midwest; Trump hits campaign trail after COVID-19 Democrat Arballo gains on Nunes: internal poll Sunday shows preview: Trump COVID-19 diagnosis rocks Washington, 2020 election MORE (R-Calif.) called for it.
“I have requested that the document undergo a formal declassification review in response to a request” from Nunes, Ratcliffe said.
His letter also mentioned that Republicans had asked for the declassification of the information in 2018 when the GOP held the House.
A former intelligence official familiar with the issue told Reuters that the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) were attempting to prevent the document’s declassification “because it would damage national security assets and jeopardize sources and methods.”
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill. The NSA deferred questions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
One of the officials told Reuters that the director of national intelligence sought to release the information on Thursday night around the time of the final debate between the president and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE. But another officer told the outlet this was unlikely to happen.
Ratcliffe last month sent to Senate Republicans unverified Russian intelligence that also countered the 2017 intelligence community and Senate Intelligence Committee conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to benefit Trump. Democrats panned that release as pushing disinformation.
Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinThe foreign policy canyon between Americans over China Russia ready to freeze nuclear warheads in exchange for New START extension Safeguarding US elections by sanctioning Russian sovereign debt MORE has denied the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions about Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. Trump accepted the Russian leader’s public denial when the pair appeared together at a press conference in Helsinki in 2018.
Reuters noted that the director of national intelligence, who previously defended Trump during his impeachment inquiry last year, committed to be “apolitical” when he was nominated to his current role.