Intel chief tells Schiff transcripts of Russia probe interviews cleared for release

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has told House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff that transcripts from the panel’s Russia probe are cleared for public release, as House Republicans demand access to the materials.

Grenell penned a letter — obtained by Fox News — this week to Schiff, D-Calif., notifying him that transcripts of all 53 interviews — which add up to more than 6,000 pages in total — related to foreign interference in the 2016 election can be released.

EXCLUSIVE: HOUSE GOP SAYS SCHIFF IS ‘BLOCKING’ RELEASE OF RUSSIA PROBE TRANSCRIPTS, DEMAND ACCESS

“All of the transcripts, with our required redactions, can be released to the public without any concerns of disclosing classified material,” Grenell wrote to Schiff in a letter dated May 4.

The committee, in September 2018, voted in “unanimous and bipartisan fashion” to release the transcripts of witness interviews that they conducted during the panel’s Russia probe. In November 2018, the committee transmitted the transcripts to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for an “interagency classification review to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of classified information.”

Grenell, in the letter to Schiff, said that the review of 43 of the 53 transcripts “was completed in June 2019.”

“As of today, the interagency review of the remaining ten transcripts has been completed, as well,” Grenell wrote, adding that “pursuant to your guidance, these transcripts have not been shared with the White House.”

“In the interests of transparency and accountability, I urge you to honor your previous public statements, and your Committee’s unanimous vote on this matter, to release all 53 cleared transcripts to all Members of Congress and the American public as soon as possible,” Grenell wrote, while adding that he was “willing” to release the transcripts directly from ODNI “as to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts.”

SENATE INTEL SAYS THERE WAS ‘NO POLITICAL PRESSURE’ TO REACH CONCLUSIONS IN INTEL REPORT ON RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

House Republicans have accused Schiff of “blocking” the Russia probe transcripts, and this week, demanded Schiff give them access to the interview transcripts.

A House Intelligence Committee spokesman told Fox News Wednesday that the panel received Grenell’s letter on Tuesday.

“After more than a year of unnecessary delay, the ODNI has finally concluded its protracted classification review of the Committee’s transcripts, and it also appears the White House has now abandoned its improper insistence on reviewing key transcripts, which the Committee appropriately rejected,” the spokesman said.

“We are now reviewing the proposed redactions from ODNI based on classification, law enforcement sensitivity or items ODNI requests be for official use only,” the spokesman continued. “Given the overtly political role now played by the acting DNI, including the leak of his letter, this committee and the public can have little confidence that his determinations are made on the merits.”

The spokesman added: “This process had already taken far too long, most notably because the ODNI improperly held up the declassification review and release of several transcripts at the request of the White House.”

The spokesman also said that the committee’s review of ODNI’s “newly proposed redactions” would be “as expeditious as possible given the constraints of the pandemic.”

“We look forward to releasing these transcripts, which relate to misconduct by the Trump campaign and the president himself,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Republicans, calling for the public release of the transcripts, said they “require access to this material for our ongoing oversight of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

The letter was signed by the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee: Rep. Jim Jordan, and GOP Reps. Mike Johnson, Ken Buck, James Sensenbrenner, Chip Roy, Michael Cloud, James Comer, Jody Hice, Glenn Grothman, Steve Chabot, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Ben Cline, Doug Collins, Guy Reschenthaler, Louie Gohmert, Kelly Armstrong, Paul Gosar, Thomas Massie, Greg Steube, Bob Gibbs, Clay Higgins, Ralph Norman, Carol Miller, Fred Keller, Tom McClintock, and Debbie Lesko.

“We understand now that Chairman Schiff is blocking the release of these transcripts,” they wrote. “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.”

“For nearly four years, prominent Democrat politicians and commentators alleged that President Trump colluded with Russia, with Chairman Schiff going so far as to say that he had ‘direct evidence’ of collusion,” they continued. “Now that these allegations have been disproven by several investigations, the American people deserve to have transparency about why public figures such as Chairman Schiff continue to promote such wild accusations.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

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