President Trump’s allies in Congress and the media have long wondered why he doesn’t declassify documents withheld by the Department of Justice that could vindicate him in the Russia probe. What’s stopping him from exercising his constitutional authority, they ask? Doesn’t he recognize the growing danger of inaction with the midterm elections at hand, which could spell his impeachment if he loses his Republican congressional majority?
RealClearInvestigations sought insight into the president’s thinking from current and past senior U.S. officials, most of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity. The picture of Trump that emerges plays against type.
On declassification, the president is not the impulsive hothead major media portray, as epitomized by his “witch hunt” bluster on Twitter. Rather, the sources characterized him as a deliberative, strategic executive inclined to keep his powder dry now for possible detonation later. (Because his supporters—some of whom have seen the documents—are pushing for declassification and his opponents are not, the assumption is that the documents would help the president.)
Trump told Fox News last week that while he didn’t want to interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, he may have no choice but to declassify. “At the right time, I think I’m going to have to do the documents,” the president said.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, for one, would be pleased with that step. Nunes told Fox recently that false “media narratives” are burying the real story of anti-Trump machinations within the government. “That’s why the sooner the president declassifies the better,” he said, with an eye toward the November midterm elections that—if Democrats win—would likely place Trump nemesis Rep. Adam Schiff as chairman of the committee. (Read more from “Why President Trump Is Keeping Those Classified DOJ Docs in His Back Pocket” HERE)