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President Trump, in a Friday morning interview on “Fox & Friends,” said there would be “more to come” after the release of a trove of House Intelligence Committee transcripts — which showed Obama-era officials saying they had no “empirical evidence” of the Trump campaign conspiring with Russia to gain an edge in the 2016 election.
The Trump comments come after sources told Fox News on Thursday night that a further document release could take place in the coming days. Sources said the tranche of documents would be “a bombshell,” hinting that the documents would show high-level Obama administration involvement in the origin of the Russia investigation.
While there were many charges that stemmed from the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian election meddling and suspected involvement by Trump associates, none of those involved conspiracy or collusion between Trump campaign members and Russia. Trump allies seized on the newly released transcripts to hammer their claims that the probe was unfounded.
“There’s more to come from what I understand and they’re gonna be far greater than what you’ve seen so far,” Trump said Friday, before going on to hint that documents could relate to former President Barack Obama.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell visited the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday, and while details of that visit are not clear, two sources familiar with the trip said Grenell wants additional documents related to Russia to be released in the coming days. Grenell would not technically be the person eventually releasing the documents, but they could be released by another entity within the Trump administration.
Fox News first reported Wednesday night that the House Intelligence Committee transcripts would show officials answering questions on the issue of evidence of a Trump campaign conspiracy with Russia.
“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified in 2017. “That’s not to say that there weren’t concerns about the evidence we were seeing, anecdotal evidence. … But I do not recall any instance where I had direct evidence.”
“I am not in possession of anything … that came from out of the intelligence community,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said when asked if she had seen evidence of a conspiracy.
Former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice also said “I don’t recall intelligence that I would consider evidence to that effect that I saw … conspiracy prior to my departure.”
Other former Obama officials gave similar answers.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a lengthy statement on Thursday, however, that the documents did, in fact, show Trump attempted to work with Russia to gain the presidency
“From 2017 to 2018, the House Intelligence Committee conducted an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” Schiff said. “Despite the many barriers put in our way by the then-Republican Majority, and attempts by some key witnesses to lie to us and obstruct our investigation, the transcripts that we are releasing today show precisely what Special Counsel Robert Mueller also revealed: That the Trump campaign, and Donald Trump himself, invited illicit Russian help, made full use of that help, and then lied and obstructed the investigations in order to cover up this misconduct.”
Schiff cited a handful of examples to back that claim, including a meeting that was set up by Donald Trump Jr. after an offer of Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton in July 2016, the conviction of former Trump adviser Roger Stone for lying about advanced knowledge of a Wikileaks release of Clinton campaign emails and the guilty plea of former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn for lying about conversations he had with Russian officials asking them not to respond to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.
Flynn later sought to withdraw his guilty plea, before the case against him was dropped by the DOJ on Thursday.
Republicans told Fox News the transcripts still show the collusion claims could not be supported.
“The transcripts show a total lack of evidence, despite Schiff personally going out saying he had more than circumstantial evidence that there was collusion,” one source involved in House Russia investigation told Fox News.
Fox News’ Shannon Bream contributed to this report.