Politics & Policy

House Republicans Demand Schiff Stop ‘Blocking’ Release of Russiagate Interviews

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff addresses a news conference on Capitol Hill, December 3, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Over two dozen House Republicans have demanded that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) stop “blocking” the release of 53 witness interviews from his committee’s Trump-Russia probe.

Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, and 27 other Republican lawmakers said in a Tuesday letter that “the American people deserve to have transparency about why public figures such as Chairman Schiff continued to promote such wild accusations.”

“We understand now that Chairman Schiff is blocking the release of these transcripts. 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 letter reads. “For almost four years, prominent Democrat politicians and commentators alleged that President Trump colluded with Russia, with Chairman Schiff going as far as to say that he had ‘direct evidence’ of collusion.”

The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the interviews in September 2018, and a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which conducted a review of the transcripts to proof for and redact classified information, told the Daily Caller on May 31, 2019, that the process would be completed “very soon.” But the transcripts have yet to be made public, with the Washington Examiner reporting that 43 of the 53 interviews have been declassified, while ODNI wants the other 10 transcripts to be reviewed by the White House as part of the declassification process — a move Schiff has blocked.

The Republicans state that “short of full public disclosure,” they still “require access to this material for our ongoing oversight of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation.” On Monday, Jordan and Representative Mike Johnson (R., La.) asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to turn over all documents and communications related to the FBI’s “Crossfire Razor” investigation of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. The request comes days after the release of FBI notes that Republicans have argued prove Flynn was ensnared in a “perjury trap.”

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