On Thursday evening, President Donald Trump blocked the release of most of the long-sealed documents relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which were scheduled to be made public today. Facing intense pressure from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to delay the release, Trump allowed only 2,800 records to be released, instead of the scheduled five million previously classified pages of documents, CNN reports.
Trump sent a last-minute memo on Thursday to intelligence officials, giving them until April to review their rationales for continuing to withhold certain documents, according to the Los Angeles Times. Per the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, the federal government is required to declassify and release all JFK assassination-related documents by October 26th, 2017, barring a presidential intercession. A few thousand of the documents were released ahead of schedule in July.
Trump's memo represents something of an about-face in his public stance on the documents. Earlier this week, Trump tweeted excitedly about the forthcoming release, writing: "The long anticipated release of the #JFKFiles will take place tomorrow. So interesting!" Additionally, Trump's longtime friend and campaign adviser, Roger Stone, recently advocated for the public release of the documents.
The small batch of declassified documents, and postponement of releasing most of them, comes after decades of work by the National Archives to prepare for the ultimate declassification, including the work of 30 full-time employees over the last year.