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House intelligence panel votes to release testimony from Russia inquiry

By Ed Adamczyk
House intelligence panel votes to release testimony from Russia inquiry
Former CIA Director John Brennan is sworn-in to testify before the House intelligence committee, as part of its Russia investigation, on Capitol Hill on May 23, 2017. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- The House intelligence committee voted Friday to publicly release testimony from its now-closed investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election two years ago.

Republicans on the committee issued a report in April that said it found no evidence of collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign in 2016. They did, however, blame the campaigns of Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton for "poor judgement and ill-considered actions."

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The probe ended a month earlier in a party-line vote, with Democrats saying it was shut down prematurely.

Fifty-three pages of transcripts will be sent to the Director of National Intelligence for a classification review before they are released to the public, the panel said Friday. It is likely they will be available prior to the November election.

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Included in the transcripts will be testimony from figures like former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, communications chief Hope Hicks, adviser Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. Remarks by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates will also be included.

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Democrats on the committee pushed for the documents' release for months after the probe ended. Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., indicated this month the transcripts would be released.

"They need to be published, I think, before the election," Nunes said. "Published, I mean being put out for the American people to review, so that they can see the work that we did and they can see all of the people that were interviewed by us and their answers to those questions."

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The panel voted unanimously to release the records, although Republican members rejected a motion to include six additional transcripts of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the committee's ranking Democrat, said the decision came after Trump suggested declassifying certain documents related to the Justice Department's investigation into the matter. Trump said they would expose Justice Department and FBI corruption, but Democrats called the suggestion an attempt to undercut Mueller's probe.

Democrats on the committee said attempts to release still more transcripts from intelligence leaders and relevant debates were defeated.

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"We didn't oppose a partial release, but we think nonetheless [the limited release] is a disservice to the public," Schiff said. "Clearly, [GOP committee members] are concerned with the public seeing certain transcripts."

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