Mark Meadows, left, and Donald Trump, right, disembark from Air Force One on July 10, 2020.
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Meadows and Trump planned to hand over an FBI file to a conservative journalist, per the NYT.
They reportedly rushed to get a set of redactions on the file, and Trump declassified it, the paper said.
The plan was scrapped because DOJ officials warned releasing the file could break privacy laws, The Times said.
In the final days of his presidency, then-President Donald Trump approved Mark Meadows’s plan to get a set of redactions approved on a file of FBI information so that it could be declassified and handed over to a sympathetic journalist, per The New York Times.
According to The Times, former chief of staff Mark Meadows had Trump’s blessing to seek out the declassification of the binder containing unreleased information about the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Crossfire Hurricane, the code name for the FBI investigation into the purported links between Russian officials and Trump associates, became the Mueller probe in 2017.
The binder detailed the FBI’s methods in the investigation. It contained a series of text messages between two former FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, which had been disparaging about Trump, per The Times. The hundreds of messages sent in the lead-up to the 2016 election included a description of Trump as an “idiot.”
Meadows reportedly dismissed concerns that declassifying the binder could compromise the FBI, saying that Trump wanted the messages to go public, per The Times.
Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
And only three days before the end of his presidency, a set of redactions was agreed upon, and Trump declassified the rest of the binder, the newspaper said.
Meadows intended to hand over the newly declassified binder to a conservative journalist, per people familiar with the plan, The Times reported. It is not immediately clear who the journalist was or which outlet they worked for.
Meadows did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The plan to hand over the binder was scrapped after Justice Department officials warned Meadows that disseminating the text messages between Strzok and Page could violate privacy laws and lead to lawsuits, per The Times.
The revelation comes from a deep dive in The New York Times about how Trump and his associates handled documents in the final days of his time at the White House.
Trump’s document handling is in focus at the moment following the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid and amid the Justice Department’s investigation into whether he broke any laws.