Republicans are ramping up the pressure on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to release of dozens of witness interview transcripts from the panel’s investigation into Russian election interference.
The House Intelligence Committee voted in September of 2019 to publish the transcripts, and at the time, it was thought that their release would come within days.
Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter on Sunday and linked to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece asking why Schiff is still refusing to make the transcripts public. According to the WSJ, Schiff is blocking 43 transcripts that have been declassified and he won’t allow the declassification of 10 others.
“Adam Schiff is desperately trying to hide these transcripts (including mine) from the American people. Who do you think he’s trying to protect? Me or Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Sally Yates and Andy McCabe?” Trump Jr. tweeted.
Adam Schiff is desperately trying to hide these transcripts (including mine) from the American people. Who do you think he’s trying to protect? Me or Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Sally Yates and Andy McCabe?
Schiff’s Secret Transcripts – WSJ https://t.co/wSmVkhLKWx
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 26, 2020
GOP Spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington also tweeted about Schiff’s stonewalling last week, pointing out that there has already been a unanimous vote in the bipartisan committee to make the transcripts public.
"Schiff spent years shouting cover-up only to be exposed for making things up. Now that the evidence is ready for public release, he's defying the unanimous vote of a bipartisan committee to make them public. What doesn't Mr. Schiff want America to see?"https://t.co/TE5bBvi9ZH
— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) April 26, 2020
“Mr. Schiff isn’t explaining his new opposition to transparency, though it seems likely he wants to shield promoters of the collusion theory from scrutiny. Among the transcripts he’s blocking are interviews with former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Their authority was used to ‘unmask’ the names of Trump campaign officials who talked with foreigners who were wiretapped by U.S. intelligence,” the WSJ editorial board wrote.
We’re told that another blocked interview is with former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates — who in early 2017 used a wild reading of the Logan Act that helped lead to the ouster of President Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Mr. Schiff is also sitting on interview transcripts with Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign advisers Corey Lewandowski, Sam Clovis and Steve Bannon. Is he worried that the transcripts will highlight how little substance there was to his collusion claims? The interviews would also allow the public to compare the early testimony of former FBI and intelligence officials (James Clapper, Andrew McCabe) against what we now know really happened.
The editorial board concluded: “Mr. Schiff spent years shouting cover-up only to be exposed for making things up. Now that the evidence is ready for public release, he’s defying the unanimous vote of a bipartisan committee to make them public. What doesn’t Mr. Schiff want America to see?”
Just the News’ John Solomon first reported that Schiff was thwarting the release of the transcripts, last Monday.
Schiff directed then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats not to share HPSCI witness transcripts from the Russia investigation with Trump or White House lawyers even though some of the transcripts contained exculpatory evidence for President Trump’s team.
“Under no circumstances shall ODNI, or any other element of the Intelligence Community (IC), share any HPSCI transcripts with the White House, President Trump or any persons associated with the White House or the President,” Schiff wrote in a March 26, 2019 letter to Coats, obtained by Solomon.
California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Washington Examiner that Schiff is “blatantly continuing to hide documents that expose their own mistruths.”
“HPSCI Democrats opposed every Republican document request and subpoena that helped to expose malfeasance in the FBI’s Russia collusion probe. And now, by refusing to publish the witness transcripts or the transcript of the committee’s briefing with former [Intelligence Community Inspector General] Michael Atkinson, the Democrats are blatantly continuing to hide documents that expose their own mistruths,” Nunes said. “There is no reason for keeping these documents secret except that they want to hide what’s in them.”
In March of 2019, all nine Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee called on Schiff to resign as Committee Chairman, citing his repeated claims that he had evidence of Trump–Russia collusion, despite Mueller finding no such thing.