Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees are accusing Adam Schiff of “blocking” Russia probe transcripts and are demanding access to the materials.
Now acting DNI Richard Grennell is warning Schiff that if he does not release these transcripts or his office will.
DailyCaller reports Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, told Rep. Adam Schiff on Monday that 53 transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into possible Trump-Russia collusion are ready to be released to the public.
In the letter, Grenell urged Schiff to publish the documents, but said that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is prepared to release them if the California Democrat refuses to do so.
“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 Members of Congress and the American public as soon as possible,” Grenell said in the letter, first reported by The Washington Examiner.
“I am also willing to release the transcripts directly from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts.”
Republicans have in recent weeks upped pressure on Schiff to release the transcripts.
The House Intelligence Committee voted in September 2018 to release the documents. The panel sent the 53 transcripts, which totaled more than 6,000 pages, to ODNI for a review of classified material.
ODNI completed a review of 43 of the transcripts in June 2019, Grenell told Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence panel. The other 10 were recently completed, the letter stated.
The interviews were conducted in secret. But by September 2018, with the committee’s report long finished and made public, the Republicans who still controlled the committee decided the interview transcripts should be released to the public. In a rare moment of comity, Democrats agreed, and on September 26, 2018, the committee voted unanimously to release the transcripts. But there was a catch: The documents would have to first be checked for classified information by the Intelligence Community. So off they went to the IC — never to be seen again.
Now, in May 2020, they’re still secret. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal editorial board reported that the IC had finished its review of 43 of the transcripts, but Schiff was refusing to release them. The paper said Schiff was also preventing declassification of the remaining ten transcripts.
In the letter, Grenell revealed that the 43 transcripts have been finished since June 2019. Schiff has been sitting on them all that time. Grenell said the final ten have just been finished as well. “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 Members of Congress and the American public as soon as possible,” Grenell said. Just in case Schiff is still not interested, Grenell added, “I am also willing to release the transcripts directly from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts.”
One more thing. In March 2019 — that was when Democrats were newly in charge of the House and considering impeaching President Trump over the Russia matter — Schiff requested that the DNI “under no circumstances…share House Intelligence Committee transcripts with the White House, President Trump, or any persons associated with the White House or President.” Some Republicans viewed that as a dubious request, since some of the witnesses came from the White House. Nevertheless, Grenell complied. “Pursuant to your guidance, these transcripts have not been shared with the White House,” he wrote to Schiff.
The next move is up to Schiff. The chairman has shown no hesitation to keep secrets even when they involve non-classified information of great national interest. For example, Schiff is still concealing the committee’s impeachment inquiry interview with Michael Atkinson, at the time the Intelligence Community Inspector General, in the Ukraine matter. As for the Trump-Russia interviews, Republicans remember when Schiff claimed he had “direct evidence” of collusion — a charge special counsel Robert Mueller was never able to establish. Some GOP lawmakers believe the transcripts will help show that Schiff was making it up all along. It’s time for the public to learn that, too.
New and exclusive: Acting DNI Ric Grennell tells House Intel chair Adam Schiff: The transcripts are ready to release. All of them. Now. 1/6 https://t.co/VSUxL6rtGy
— Byron York (@ByronYork) May 6, 2020