Fox News reports Richard Grenell has declassified a new batch of Russia probe documents on his way out as acting director of national intelligence, leaving the decision on whether to make those files public up to newly sworn-in Director John Ratcliffe.
The documents include transcripts of phone calls that then-incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak had in December 2016, during the presidential transition period. Grenell said publicly last week that he was in the process of declassifying those files, after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked that he do so.
Fox News has learned that the declassification review of those transcripts is now complete, and it will be left up to Ratcliffe on whether to release them publicly.
Fox News has learned that Grenell also completed the declassification review of other documents related to the origins of the Russia probe — including one that a senior intelligence official told Fox News was “very significant in understanding how intelligence was manipulated to support launching the Russia investigation.”
The official could not provide further details on that newly declassified document, but said that it will also be up to Ratcliffe to decide whether to make it public.
The declassification comes after Grenell, who served as acting director while simultaneously serving as the U.S. ambassador to Germany, made waves with previous declassifications related to the Russia investigation, as well as other actions during his three months on the job.
Earlier this month, Grenell cleared for release more than 6,000 pages of transcripts of interviews from the House Intelligence Committee’s long-running Russia investigation. Schiff, under pressure from Grenell and House Republicans, ultimately released the transcripts which revealed, among other things, that top Obama officials acknowledged they knew of no “empirical evidence” of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.
Then, Grenell declassified a list of Obama-era officials who requested to unmask the identity of Flynn in intelligence reports during the presidential transition period. The roster included top-ranking figures including then-Vice President Joe Biden, then-FBI Director James Comey, then-CIA Director John Brennan, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough, among others.
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