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Trump orders US intelligence agencies to cooperate with probe into 2016 campaign ‘surveillance’

President Donald J. Trump walks from the Oval Office to the South Lawn of the White House Monday, May 20, 2019, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his trip to Pennsylvania. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to fully cooperate with the Justice Department review of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election campaign.

Trump’s order, released on May 23, was the latest move in an ongoing effort by the White House to undermine the conclusions of Mueller’s investigation.

Mueller’s final report, released last month, corroborated U.S. intelligence conclusions of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, and also documented Trump’s efforts to undermine the Mueller inquiry. It said there was insufficient evidence to prove Trump and his team obstructed the inquiry, but it also did not exonerate him.

Since the report’s release, Trump and some Republican allies have been mounting calls to “investigate the investigators” involved in the origins of the probe.

The investigation was initially opened by the FBI, but then taken over by Mueller after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey.

The head of the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr, has suggested the FBI “spied” on the Trump campaign, an assertion that has been downplayed by the current FBI director.

In the order, Trump said he had directed intelligence agencies to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Barr’s review. He also said he had granted Barr broad powers to potentially release highly classified information.

The move comes with growing calls among congressional Democrats to begin impeachment hearings against Trump.

Several committees are investigating not only aspects of the Russia investigation, but also some of Trump’s tax and business dealings.

Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, accused Trump and Barr of “weaponizing” law enforcement agencies.

“The cover-up has entered a new and dangerous phase,” Schiff said. “This is un-American.”