Acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell has notified House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) that 53 interviews conducted by the committee as part of the Russia investigation are ready for release.
“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 May 4 letter first reported by Byron York of the Washington Examiner. “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.”
The transcripts detail interviews conducted by the committee in 2016 with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr., former FBI director Andrew McCabe, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, and many others connected to the investigation.
The interviews were handed over to intelligence agencies for redactions in 2018, with 43 transcripts completed by June 2019. Schiff refused to release those transcripts at the time, and now all 53 have been reviewed and redacted.
Initially, Schiff 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 op-ed in USA Today. “The next best thing will be to release the entire body of witness transcripts, so the public can see the facts for themselves.”
Republicans on the committee released a report in 2018 saying the investigation had turned up no evidence of collusion between the Trump-campaign and Russian operatives. However, the report “did find poor judgment and ill-considered actions by the Trump and Clinton campaigns.”
Former special counsel Robert Mueller in his own investigation concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” of collusion.