The House Intelligence Committee voted to release more than 50 transcripts from interviews from its now-concluded investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and other Trump advisers.
Before they are released, the transcripts will be reviewed by Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, the committee has said. Others who testified include Trump’s former longtime spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, and former bodyguard Keith Schiller. The panel also interviewed dozens of others, including former Obama administration officials.
The intelligence committee’s investigation was separate from the probe being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In April, the Republicans on the committee said it found “no evidence” of collusion between the Russian government and Trump campaign.
Earlier this month, intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said the transcripts should be made public ahead of November’s midterm elections.
“I expect to make those available from our committee to the American public in the next few weeks,” Nunes said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
But some GOP lawmakers signaled that making the transcripts public might affect their ability to compel witnesses to testify in future investigations.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said the vote to release the transcripts was unanimous but only after Democrats pushed unsuccessfully for Republicans to release additional transcripts that are being withheld.
Meanwhile, a source close to the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees told Fox News they plan to “soon” subpoena Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson – a key figure in the Russia investigation and the genesis of the infamous dossier – for testimony on Capitol Hill.
Fusion GPS hired British MI6 agent Christopher Steele to investigate and write the dossier of unverified claims about Trump’s relationship with Russia. The findings eventually made their way to the FBI at the beginning of its investigation into any ties between Trump associates and Russia — and the bureau’s dealings with Steele are a key focus for congressional investigators.
In a new letter, Simpson’s lawyer said he will not appear voluntarily before the two committees for testimony, noting he has already appeared before other congressional committees while accusing lawmakers of leaking confidential information.
The source said the committees want to talk with Simpson because his congressional testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee conflicts with hand written notes and emails from DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
Simpson said he did not engage with Ohr until after Thanksgiving 2016, but emails show it was August or earlier.
Documents show Simpson and Steele used Ohr as a back channel to get the dossier to the FBI in 2016 before and after the election.
Recently, A federal judge tossed a lawsuit claiming that the Trump campaign and former adviser Roger Stone colluded with WikiLeaks and the Russian government to publish hacked Democratic National Committee emails during the presidential election.
U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle said in a ruling that the allegations of conspiracy were insubstantial to proceed in a court, Politico reported.
“The Trump Campaign’s efforts to elect President Trump in D.C. are not suit-related contacts for those efforts did not involve acts taken in furtherance of the conspiracies to disseminate emails that harmed plaintiffs,” wrote the Clinton-appointed judge. “Campaign meetings, canvassing voters, and other regular business activities of a political campaign do not constitute activities related to the conspiracies alleged in the complaint.”
She noted that her ruling is based on the technicalities of the lawsuit and doesn’t take a position on whether the Trump campaign and its officials actually conspired with the Russians during the election.
“It bears emphasizing that this Court’s ruling is not based on a finding that there was no collusion between defendants and Russia during the 2016 presidential election,” Huvelle wrote. “This is the wrong forum for plaintiffs’ lawsuit. The Court takes no position on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims.”
The lawsuit was brought by two DNC donors, Roy Cockrum and Eric Schoenberg, and former DNC staffer Scott Comer, who alleged that the publication of the emails violated their privacy and that the Trump campaign and Stone engaged in an illicit activity, according to Politico.
The DNC itself wasn’t part of the suit, though it had brought a separate lawsuit back in April, accusing top Trump campaign officials, including Trump’s son Donald Jr. and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner of colluding with the Russians.
Stone’s role in WikiLeaks activities raised concerns after the revelations that he reportedly exchanged messages with both WikiLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – a social media account that U.S. intelligence agencies believe was part of the “Russian military intelligence” effort to spread the hacked emails, The Daily Beast reported.
Despite the setback, the group that filed the lawsuit, Protect Democracy, said it will refile the case elsewhere.
“While we are disappointed in and respectfully disagree with today’s decision from the District Court to dismiss this case on the grounds that it does not belong in Washington, D.C., this case is far from over,” Protect Democracy’s Ian Bassin said in a statement to Politico. “It is clear that the Court recognizes that there is sufficient evidence to suggest a conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and the Kremlin, but believes this case belongs in a different court. What today’s decision indicates is that the merits of this case will proceed somewhere,” he added.
No narrative is more at the heart of the Democrats’ and media’s Trump-Russia collusion charges than reports that Paul Manafort regularly communicated with Moscow during the 2016 campaign.
Now, that narrative has all but collapsed, according to an examination of the year-old official public record.
Once again, Democrats prove that everything they know is wrong.
Prosecutors risk having charges dismissed if they fail to comply with discovery rules.
“The special counsel has not produced any materials to the defense — no tapes, notes, transcripts or any other material evidencing surveillance or intercepts of communications between Mr. Manafort and Russian intelligence officials, Russian government officials [or any other foreign officials],” Mr. Downing’s filing said. “The Office of Special Counsel has advised that there are no materials responsive to the request.”
Mr. Downing called the CNN report and others an “elaborate hoax.”
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 28th, 2018