The House Intelligence Committee will vote Friday to release the transcripts of more than 50 interviews the panel conducted as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling, the committee posted Wednesday. The interviews will include testimony from many prominent figures.
Friday’s planned vote was scheduled by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. After the vote, the way will be cleared for the release to the public of previously-private interviews with such senior Trump associates as Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks and Jeff Sessions. It will also allow the release of transcripts of interviews with several senior Obama administration officials.
After the committee votes Friday the transcripts will be sent to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) for a classification review. If they pass DNI review they will then be released. It is understood that with a few exceptions most of the interviews were not classified and so classification review is a mere formality.
The transcripts will show the world the details of a highly partisan battle fought between Democrats and Republicans on the Intelligence Committee. The Russia investigation ended in highly-charged accusations, finger-pointing and name calling between the two parties.
The transcripts will also provide the first look at how the key players in the Russia investigation explain such events a the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting and the release of hacked Democratic emails to WikiLeaks during 2016.
Republicans abruptly stopped the investigation earlier several months ago, but Democrats said they would continue looking into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Democrats, led by Rep. Adam Schiff of California, also called for all of the interview transcripts to be released. Their belief is that the interview transcripts will show how Republicans failed to properly investigate Trump‘s associates on the question of collusion with Russia.
Republicans in charge of the investigation had initially called for the transcripts to be released. After they issued their report that concluded the panel found no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia they changed their mind. Chairman Nunes said he did not want to release the transcripts but he recently changed his mind.
“We believe that the depositions that we took…those need to be published and they need to be published I think before the election,” Nunes said on Fox News‘s “Sunday Morning Futures” several weeks ago.
The committee will not release all of its transcripts of interviews connected to the Russia investigation. Interviews with two House members — Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a Florida Democrat — are not on the list to be made public.
The panel will also not release transcripts from closed hearings that were conducted in connection with the Russia probe with former FBI Director James Comey, former NSA Director Mike Rogers and former CIA Director John Brennan.
Classified interviews to be released include those with former Obama administration officials James Clapper, Loretta Lynch, Ben Rhodes and Sally Yates, as well as former FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Many of the interviews are with Trump-connected figures such as Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Steve Bannon, Michael Caputo, Rick Dearborn, Rhona Graff, JD Gordon, Brad Parscale and Felix Sater.