House Intel Poised To Release Dozens Of Russia Probe Transcripts

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will vote Friday on releasing transcripts of 53 interviews conducted during its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

If the committee approves the measure, as is expected, the transcripts will go to the Director of the Office of National Intelligence for a review of any classified material. The process could take weeks given the number of transcripts involved.

The committee conducted 73 interviews in all during its 15-month investigation, which found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Most of the interviewees have been prominent figures in the investigation. The committee interviewed several Trump associates, including Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Michael Cohen, Steve Bannon, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski and Roger Stone.

In addition to investigating the collusion angle, the committee also probed whether the Obama administration illegally unmasked members of the Trump transition team. James Clapper, Loretta Lynch, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes and Sally Yates were all interviewed on that topic. (RELATED: Devin Nunes Plans To Release Transcripts Of Russia Probe Interviews)

The committee has already released transcripts of interviews conducted with former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page as well as with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier. (RELATED: Here Is The House Intel Committee’s Long-Awaited Russia Report)

Much of the committee’s work was focused on the dossier, which alleged a secret scheme between the campaign and Kremlin operatives. Republican committee members’ efforts led to the discovery that Fusion GPS was hired to investigate Trump by Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and DNC.

The committee forced Fusion to provide bank records related to its dossier work. That angle led to the discovery that the wife of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr worked for Fusion GPS during its dossier project. It turned out that Ohr was in frequent contact with Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier.

The committee interviewed Marc Elias, the DNC and Clinton campaign attorney who dealt directly with Fusion GPS.

David Kramer, a longtime associate of John McCain’s, was interviewed twice. Kramer met with Steele in the U.K. in November 2016 to obtain a copy of the dossier on behalf of McCain. McCain in turn provided a copy to then-FBI Director James Comey during a meeting on Dec. 9, 2016. McCain was not aware that Comey and the FBI already had possession of the dossier.

The committee also interviewed Mike Gaeta, an FBI official based in Rome who was Steele’s first point-of-contact. Gaeta had worked with Steele on an investigation into corruption in FIFA, the international soccer organization.

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