Transcripts from House panel’s Russia investigation ready for release
Washington is poised to pore over private testimony from dozens of associates and adversaries of President Donald Trump who appeared before the House intelligence committee to discuss Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
The trove of transcripts span roughly 6,000 pages — or about five times the length of the Bible — and offer partisans a smorgasbord of potential gaffes, perjurious moments, or unexplored lines of inquiry.
Richard Grenell, acting national intelligence director, informed House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) that 53 until-now secret interviews are ready for release.
“All of the transcripts, with our required redactions, can be released to the public without any concerns of disclosing classified material,” Grenell wrote to Schiff on Monday, the Washington Examiner first reported.
Interview subjects include Donald Trump Jr., former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Trump attorney-turned-adversary Michael Cohen and Trump confidant and spokeswoman Hope Hicks.
Schiff’s committee probe ran parallel to an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who found last year there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
The intelligence committee chairman repeatedly suggested that damning information was being compiled on Trump’s links to Russia, and he later helped lead the impeachment inquiry into Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats.
It’s unclear when the documents may be released.
The high-stakes questioning could yield accusations of dishonesty by subjects.
Lying to Congress is a crime. In a rare prosecution, Roger Stone, the flamboyant former Trump adviser, was convicted in November of lying to Congress about his attempts to contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 election. But in another notable case, Obama administration intelligence chief James Clapper gave admittedly false testimony about domestic surveillance in 2013 and was not prosecuted.
Redactions will be controversial and may conceal information damaging to each side. For example, Mueller’s report on Trump redacted a claim that former President Bill Clinton was recorded by Russia engaging in phone sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
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