Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe may be pulling back on what he calls his “above and beyond” approach to briefing Congress, but he’s still working to coordinate with U.S. Attorney John Durham to declassify information related to the Russia collusion investigation.
The former congressman told Sunday Morning Futures he defends his recent controversial decision to end in-person briefings to Congress in lieu of filing official written reports for members to read, citing a “pandemic of leaking” as the reason for the change. In that same interview, Ratcliffe said he was working to coordinate declassification of documents that might be related to the Durham investigation so as not to compromise the investigation but to meet his promise to senators to look at the intelligence behind the Russia collusion investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016.
“I pledged to a bipartisan group of senators that I would look at all of the underlying intelligence surrounding the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s interference and this idea of Trump-Russia collusion,” Ratcliffe told “Sunday Morning Futures.” “But I’m not going to prejudice John Durham’s work in connection with that, so we’ve had to coordinate with his office about the timing of that. But I’m optimistic that I’ll be declassifying additional documents soon.”
After speaking with Durham, Ratcliffe said he knows they are looking at the same documents, although the Barr-appointed U.S. attorney is not sharing what, specifically, he’s working on or researching, according to the DNI.
“I’m coordinating with him to make sure that he has the intelligence documents that he needs to do his work,” Ratcliffe told Sunday Morning Futures. “And what I don’t want to do is declassify something that might prejudice his work. So we’re going to have to coordinate as we go forward with the completion of his work with my ability to declassify documents.”
Ratcliffe has already declassified sensitive documents related to phone calls between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. He also declassified documents and revealed to Congress that the FBI agent who gave a “defensive briefing on election interference” to Trump’s campaign in 2016 “actively listened” for information he could use “to monitor then-candidate Donald Trump and Michael Flynn, a source familiar with the document said.”
Ratcliffe also turned over information related to Christopher Steele’s “limited corroboration” on the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.