Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has told House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) in a letter that transcripts from the committee’s Russia investigation can be released to the public—coming a day after House Republicans demanded access.
“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 in a letter on Monday, Washington Examiner reported.
The transcripts of all 53 interviews related to an investigation into whether foreign interference tipped the 2016 election should be released, he said.
A review of 43 of the 53 transcripts “was completed in June 2019,” he wrote to Schiff, adding that as of Monday, “the interagency review of the remaining ten transcripts has been completed, as well.” This is “pursuant to your guidance, these transcripts have not been shared with the White House,” Grenell said, Fox News reported.
“In the interests of transparency and accountability, I urge you to honor your previous public statements, and your Committee’s unanimous vote on this matter, to release all 53 cleared transcripts to all Members of Congress and the American public as soon as possible,” Grenell wrote, adding that he’s willing to release the transcripts directly from his office “to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts.”
Schiff was one of the top Democrats who alleged that Trump’s campaign conspired with the Kremlin during the 2016 election.
But late last year, the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released a report that the FBI made 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Before that, former Special Counsel Robert Mueller said he found no evidence Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.
Schiff’s office has not responded to a request for comment, although a House Intelligence Committee spokesman told Fox News on Wednesday that the committee received Grenell’s letter.
“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,” the Intelligence Committee spokesman said.
The spokesperson further said that Grenell is acting in an “overtly political” manner by requesting the release of the transcripts this week. But, the committee is looking forward to “releasing these transcripts,” the official said.
A day before, House Republicans, led by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), called for access to the transcripts.
“After interviewing 73 individuals and reviewing over 300,000 documents,” the Intelligence Committee issued a 2018 report that “the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia,” according to the letter. In September of that year, the panel voted to release 53 transcripts, according to the lawmakers.
While alleging that Schiff is “blocking” the release of the documents, the Republicans asserted that claims of collusion during the 2016 election “have been disproven by several investigations.”
Initially, it was Schiff who had called on Republicans to release the interview transcripts.
“Republican efforts to protect the president at the cost of a serious investigation would make that impossible,” Schiff wrote in a March 2018 USA Today opinion article. “The next best thing will be to release the entire body of witness transcripts, so the public can see the facts for themselves.”