Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, plans to release the transcripts of dozens of private interviews from the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
With midterms coming up, the California Republican said, he wants to work quickly in the coming weeks to make unclassified interviews from the probe public and have Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats declassify the others.
“I think full transparency is in order here, so I expect to make those [transcripts] available from our committee to the American public here in the next few weeks,” Nunes told Fox News Sunday, breaking with his GOP colleague who led the investigation, Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas.
Roughly 70 to 80 percent of the interviews are unclassified, Nunes said.
“Those need to be published, and they need to be published, I think, before the election,” he said.
In March, Conaway said he advised against releasing the transcripts, warning that breaching the private nature of those interviews would dissuade potential witnesses in future probes from speaking with House investigators more voluntarily.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, has urged Nunes to release the transcripts for months. He echoed that plea Sunday in a statement, claiming that the Republican majority members allowed certain witnesses to decline answering Democrats’ questions in the interviews.
“The American people deserve to see what the witnesses said, the many questions they would not answer, and how often the Majority — to protect Trump — let them refuse,” Schiff tweeted.
Nunes promised to release all the witness interviews, then reneged. We hope this time he will follow through.The American people deserve to see what the witnesses said, the many questions they would not answer, and the how often the Majority — to protect Trump — let them refuse. https://t.co/KcVgRhS9By
Under Nunes’ chairmanship, the House Intelligence Committee has become one of the most partisan on the Hill.
In February, Nunes released a four-page memo outlining his interpretation of the committee investigation’s results.
The committee found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and the Russians interfered in the 2016 elections to sow chaos, not to put their thumb on the scale in favor of Trump, Nunes’ memo states.
Officials at the FBI, he claimed, “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources” to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Schiff wrote a “counter-memo” challenging Nunes and the Republicans’ assessment on many statements that Schiff said were false or misleading.
In July, the Justice Department released the four FISA warrants on Page, which mostly corroborated Schiff and the Democrats’ assertion that an unverified dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia produced by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele was only one small element of the FBI’s request for a warrant to monitor Page, who had left the Trump campaign by the time the FBI applied for the warrant.
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