Politics

House Republicans Say Schiff Is ‘Blocking’ The Release Of Dozens Of Secret Russia Transcripts

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee called on Rep. Adam Schiff Tuesday to release 53 transcripts of interviews from the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe, saying that the California Democrat has blocked the release of the documents.

The Intelligence Committee voted to release the transcripts in September 2018. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence reviewed the transcripts to redact all classified information and completed that process in May 2019. A spokesperson for the office told The Daily Caller News Foundation on May 31, 2019, that the review would be completed “very soon.”

But Schiff, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, has withheld the release of the documents for reasons he has yet to explain.

The transcripts include interviews with Obama administration officials, FBI officials who worked on the Trump-Russia probe, current and former Trump administration officials, and individuals who have insight into the infamous Steele dossier. (RELATED: IG Report Undercut Schiff Memo)

Two interviews are of particular interest to Republicans. One is with Michael Sussmann, a lawyer for the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and the other is with David Kramer, a former aide to Sen. John McCain who met with dossier author Christopher Steele.

“We understand now that Chairman Schiff is blocking the release of these transcripts,” the House Judiciary Republicans said in a letter to Schiff and Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence committee.

“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.”

The Judiciary Republicans asserted that publication of the documents is warranted given that the investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia have been debunked.

“The American people deserve to have transparency about why public figures such as Chairman Schiff continued to promote such wild accusations,” the Republicans wrote.

Schiff was one of the top Democrats leveling allegations that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

During a March 20, 2017, committee hearing, he cited allegations made in the now-debunked Steele dossier. Schiff also claimed during an interview on March 22, 2017, to have seen “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Schiff also defended the FBI in a widely-touted memo in February 2018 against GOP allegations that the bureau provided misleading information related to the dossier in order to obtain wiretap authorization against former Trump aide Carter Page.

A Justice Department inspector general’s report undercut many of Schiff’s assurances. The report said that the FBI made 17 “significant” errors and omissions, many regarding the dossier, in applications to surveil Page. The report also said that the FBI received evidence in 2017 that Russian intelligence operatives fed disinformation to Steele.

The special counsel’s report also said investigators found no evidence of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Kremlin, which was a core focus of Schiff’s and the dossier.

The House Judiciary Republicans said they want the 53 transcripts made public. But short of that, they are asking Schiff to provide the Judiciary panel with access to the transcripts as part of the oversight process of the Justice Department and FBI.

A spokesman for Schiff did not respond to a request for comment.

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