Exclusive: President Donald Trump wants full transparency into the Russia investigation
I spoke to President Trump about his decision to get input from the Inspector General of the DOJ on whether to declassify certain intelligence documents that pertain to the Russia investigation. Here's what the President told me in our one-on-one exclusive interview:
BORIS: A couple of issues on the home front. Let's talk about the declassification of documents. Earlier this week you said you were going to declassify. Now you're saying that you want the inspector general of the Department of Justice to review the documents first. What happened? What's the motivation?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I don’t want anybody to say I had an unfair advantage in this in the witch hunt, number one. And they were trying to say, oh, if he gets the documents, I wouldn't have even read the documents, but other people would have and they're entitled to. So, I didn't want anyone saying that I had an unfair advantage because there was no collusion.
Everybody—virtually everybody's come out. Even if you look at a Senator Burr the other day said he's the head of the Committee on Intelligence in the Senate. He's the head and they asked him that question.
He's from North Carolina. They asked him the question about collusion. No, we found no collision. We found no collusion. You look at Devin Nunes, you look at everybody. Last night, Trey Gowdy said there's no collusion. So I don't want to do anything that's going to give some, you know, the enemy because we do have people that are, they have bad thoughts. Okay? And I don't want to give anybody an advantage. And the other thing is companies have come to me, uh, countries have come to me and they've said really very strongly, "please don't do it" because, you know, they work with us.
BORIS: Don't declassify?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: They, they didn't want me to do it in a public way. So what we're doing is we're moving everything to the IG, the Inspector General's Office, and we're asking for an expedited look and a report and I think he'll be able to do that. He gave a couple of pretty good reports already—in all fairness—and that way nobody can complain and if it doesn't work out, I will then declassify and release them.
BORIS: Okay. Do you think that in the end the American people should have an eye, have a view into these documents?
TRUMP: I do. I do. I don't want to do anything to compromise national security, but the answer is I do.
Here's the Bottom Line: the inspector general is now going to review this rather complicated issue. In the end, however, President Trump believes that the American people deserve transparency on how the Russia investigation is unfolding.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations