House Intel Committee’s Russia transcripts reaffirm no collusion findings

Two years after the conclusion of the House Intelligence Committee-led investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, transcripts of interviews from the probe that have been cleared for release still remain sealed. Reports are emerging that the transcripts show top law enforcement and intelligence officials affirming they had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.

Now, whether those documents will see the light of day as they currently look is in question.

Just days after acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell wrote in a letter to Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that the transcripts were ready for release, a spokesperson for Schiff still has not provided a release date, instead blaming delays on Grenell.

“After more than a year of unnecessary delay, the ODNI has finally concluded its protracted classification review of the Committee’s transcripts, and it also appears the White House has now abandoned its improper insistence on reviewing key transcripts, which the Committee appropriately rejected,” a House Intelligence Committee spokesman said in a statement.

“Our review of ODNI’s newly proposed redactions will be as expeditious as possible given the constraints of the pandemic, and we look forward to releasing these transcripts, which relate to misconduct by the Trump campaign and the president himself,” the spokesperson continued.

Grenell, along with House Republicans, paint a different picture, accusing the California Democrat of blocking their requests to release the transcripts.

In his letter to Schiff, obtained by the Washington Examiner, Grenell revealed that 43 of the 53 transcripts had been approved for the public since June 2019. The other 10 interviews became a sticking point between the White House and the committee, when lawmakers refused to allow the White House to review those transcripts.

According to CNN, the committee told Grenell not to share those documents with the White House and the Trump appointee obliged.

Grenell wrote in his letter to Schiff Monday that the White House was dropping its demand to review the documents, leaving no reason for further delay on their release.

Should Schiff delay making the transcripts public much longer, the director may take matters into his own hands.

“I am also willing to release the transcripts directly from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts,” the intelligence chief warned Schiff in his letter.

Grenell is not the only one at odds with Schiff regarding the files. His GOP counterparts on House intel go so far as to accuse Schiff of blocking the documents from being released.

“We understand now that Chairman Schiff is blocking the release of these transcripts,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote in a letter signed by nearly two dozen House Republicans.

“This news, if accurate, is disturbing — especially in light of Chairman Schiff’s cries in 2019 for transparency regarding allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.”

Jordan went on to say that transparency is needed to set the record straight for individuals like Schiff who alleged that there was evidence of Russian collusion.

As for why Schiff wouldn’t want the transcripts to be released, Fox News reports that those interviews show top law enforcement and intelligence officials affirming they had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016.

“Schiff is in panic mode,” a senior administration official told the network.

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