With a year-long delay, the testimony given to the House of Representatives by the main persons involved in the investigation about the alleged collusion of Trump’s staff with Russia was published.
The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday released the transcripts of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which was conducted by lawmakers.
The Committee’s Chairman, Democrat Adam Schiff, gave the go-ahead for the publication of 57 transcripts of meetings that were held by congressmen who are members of the Intelligence Committee behind closed doors. Lawmakers were trying to find out whether employees of the Trump campaign coordinated their actions with Russia. Although the report itself was published back in 2018, transcripts of meetings involving the defendants in the case have not yet been published, as their contents have been reviewed by the national intelligence service all this time.
Although former special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who led the investigation, found no evidence of collusion between the trump staff and Russia, the opinions of Democrats and Republicans about the testimony they received were divided.
In connection with the publication of the documents, Adam Schiff issued a statement in which he stressed that the transcripts, in his opinion, prove the fact that Russia sought to help Donald Trump and damage Hillary Clinton – the current President’s opponent in the 2016 election.
“Despite the numerous barriers erected by the then-Republican majority [in the House of Representatives], and the attempts of some key witnesses to lie to us and obstruct our investigation, the transcripts that we publish today show exactly what special Prosecutor Robert Mueller also said: the trump staff and Donald trump himself welcomed illegal assistance from Russia, made full use of that assistance, and then lied and obstructed investigations to cover up this misconduct,” Schiff said in a statement.
Among the published transcripts is previously unpublished testimony from critical members of the Trump team and representatives of the President’s family, including Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son-in-law, and White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s 2016 campaign chief of staff Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s communications Director hope Hicks, Trump’s electronic media Director Brad Parscale, and another trump campaign employee, Carter Page, whom the FBI suspected of having ties to Russia.
Lawmakers also received testimony from senior Obama administration officials – former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former presidential advisers Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The Committee voted to publish the transcripts back in 2018, but the release date was delayed in 2019 when the Democratic Party gained control of the House of Representatives. After the office of the Director of National intelligence said it wanted to share some of the transcripts with the White House, Democrats objected, and publication of the transcripts was in limbo until national intelligence finished reviewing all the transcripts and gave the go-ahead for their release.
The Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation began in 2017 on a bipartisan basis and quickly escalated into a bitter fight between the two parties. Republicans involved in the research believe that the testimony they received does not prove collusion between the Trump team and Russia. Still, Democrats claim that the Republicans did not issue subpoenas to obtain critical documents and did not force witnesses to answer essential questions for the investigation.
According to Fox News, citing sources in the intelligence Committee, none of the 53 witnesses could provide evidence of collusion between the Trump staff and Moscow.
“The transcripts show a complete lack of evidence although Schiff has personally stated that he has more than circumstantial evidence that collusion took place,” one of the sources involved in the Russia investigation told Fox News.