Published: Thu, February 07, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

House Intelligence Committee Meets, Makes Moves

House Intelligence Committee Meets, Makes Moves

Schiff also announced the renewed Russiagate probe would go "beyond Russia" to include Trump's financial interests and "whether any foreign actor has sought to compromise or holds leverage, financial or otherwise, over Donald Trump, his family, his business or his associates".

Schiff, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, plans to resume the panel's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

The panel voted to move forward on an effort that had been previously quashed and that Committee Chair Adam Schiff had vowed to make a priority: It will send more than 50 interview transcripts from its now-closed Russian Federation investigation to special counsel Robert Mueller. "And it's unfortunate. And it really does hurt our country". It is possible that Mueller could have gained access to the documents through the intelligence agencies that are reviewing them. In the meantime, members have said, they think Mueller is best equipped to determine who is telling the truth.

"The special counsel's office, the Justice Department and its elements will now have access to those transcripts for any objective which will facilitate justice", Schiff said, noting they previously lacked usable access to the transcripts for prosecutor purposes.

The panel has previously released select transcripts to the Special Counsel, including that of Trump's longtime friend Roger Stone and Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. Mueller "will now have access to those transcripts for any objective that will facilitate justice", Schiff said.

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He was sentenced to three years in federal prison in December and is scheduled to report on March 6. Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees in a statement about his role in a Trump business proposal in Moscow, acknowledging that he misled lawmakers by saying he had abandoned the project in January 2016 when he actually continued pursuing it for months after that. Democrats had previously pushed the GOP-led committee to release all of the transcripts to Mueller, but Republicans said Mueller hadn't requested them.

Mueller requested Stone's interview transcript a year ago and the panel voted to release it in December. But that vote took place in September, and the interview transcripts still have not been cleared in the declassification review - a delay Republicans called "unacceptable" in a statement.

"The American people have a right to know - indeed, a need to know - that the president is acting on their behalf and not for some pecuniary or other reason", Schiff said.

Democrats also opposed a Republican motion at the meeting Wednesday to subpoena several witnesses.

In his remarks to press, Schiff indicated the committee would seek to "expedite" the release of some transcripts, saying ODNI expected to complete its review by May or June. But Schiff stressed today that while Democrats wanted to accommodate GOP requests, they would not begin firing off subpoenas before potential witnesses were given a chance to appear voluntarily.

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