- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2020

The House Intelligence Committee released transcripts Thursday of 57 closed-door interviews with witnesses during the panel’s investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference.

The transcripts total more than 6,000 pages and include interviews with some of the biggest names in Washington, including Donald Trump Jr., Hope Hicks, Steve Bannon, Michael Cohen, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, Corey Lewandowski and Michael Caputo.

Also released were transcripts of interviews with high-ranking officials from the Obama administration, including former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice, and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.

The committee, led by Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, made the transcripts public after Acting National Intelligence Director Richard Grenell wrote him a letter saying the transcripts had been released for classified material and were ready to be made public.

Mr. Schiff had blamed the White House for the delay in releasing the transcripts publicly. He said the White House didn’t want the material public because it details the Trump campaign’s embrace of Russian help in the 2016 presidential election.

“The transcripts released today richly detail evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election,” Mr. Schiff said in a statement.

The committee conducted the Russia investigation when Congress was controlled by Republicans and the panel was led by Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican.

In April 2018, the committee released a redacted report authored by Republicans summarizing its findings. The report was accompanied by the Democrats’ dissenting report.

The Republicans said they had found “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and Russia, a finding that was later backed up by former special counsel Robert Mueller, who spent almost two years investigating Russian interference.

As Washington was abuzz about the Russia investigation, a bipartisan committee vote in September 2018 authorized the release of witness transcripts pending a classification review by the Office of Director of National Intelligence.

But months later, the release process ground to a halt when Democrats opposed the office sharing some transcripts with the White House.

Mr. Schiff insisted the transcripts belonged to the committee and accused the ODNI of giving the White House a chance to “claw back” information that should be provided to Congress.

The stalemate continued into this week, when Mr. Grenell told Mr. Schiff the transcripts were ready to be released. Mr. Grenell said the contested transcripts had not been shared with the White House.

The Senate conducted its own investigation into the matter and is expected to release its final conclusions later this year.

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