While President Trump declassifying documents "at the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency", may sound like routine presidential behavior, the directive announced by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday afternoon was actually a dramatic escalation of his attempts to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The most high profile documents that will be revealed from this move include the FISA warrant renewal application against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page (as well as hundreds of other pages of applications), and text messages from controversial figures such as Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr and James Comey.
The FBI obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Page, who worked on Trump's campaign, in part by submitting a now questioned dossier compiled by former British intelligence official Christopher Steele for Fusion GPS.
Trump specified that the text messages must be released "without redaction".
It is not clear from the statement when the declassification and release of the documents would occur.
He said Trump was "restrained" in his approach to declassifying the documents, saying that he apparently did not take the extreme step of declassifying the actual FISA surveillance warrant.
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The pages that Trump ordered declassified concern Page's links to the Russian government and alleged ties to Russia's intelligence services, including his 2004-2007 residency in Russia, where he began business dealings with state-owned Gazprom.
He also ordered the release of reports of interviews with Bruce Ohr and the FISA surveillance warrant application related to his former campaign advisor Carter Page. It will be updated when more information becomes available.
This summer, officials released heavily redacted versions of the first October 2016 FISA application and three renewals stretching to September of 2017. In his interview, Schiff explained that it was FBI Director Wray and Deputy AG Rosenstein who told him that the release of the Russian Federation documents Trump wanted declassified would be considered "a red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods".
Politico reported that both the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation have no idea how the redaction process is being handled, with a source familiar with the process saying both entities feel it's possible that the White House could release the information on its own as early as Monday.
"The case should never have been allowed to be brought", Trump added.