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Top Democrat on House Intel Committee seeks release of all Russia probe interviews

Republicans on the Intelligence Committee voted to end their year-long Russia probe in March, over the objection of Democrats.
Image: Justice Department And Intelligence Officials Brief The Bipartisan Gang Of Eight Regarding Confidential FBI Source In Russia Probe
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, at the Capitol last month.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee is raising public pressure on Republicans to release transcripts of all the panel's interviews related to the Russia investigation, saying they could be of value to the ongoing Mueller probe.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., wrote to the committee's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., two weeks ago requesting that the dozens of transcripts be released, saying they could shed "additional light on the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice."

Schiff said Thursday he had not received a reply to his request. Nunes' office declined to comment.

In his letter, Schiff also raised concerns that some witnesses “may have testified untruthfully” before the committee, and that special counsel Robert Mueller and his team “should consider whether perjury charges are warranted.”

"Certainly the testimony of Don Jr., Erik Prince, Roger Stone and others is inconsistent with the public reports of meetings, conversations and other facts that have now been established," Schiff said in an interview with NBC News. "And so if those public reports are accurate, then clearly they were not telling the truth."

Republicans on the Intelligence Committee voted to end their year-long Russia probe in March, over the objection of Democrats who said there were still lines of inquiry that needed to be pursued.

The committee’s final report, released in April, found that there was no evidence of collusion between the Russian government and Trump campaign officials, and even more controversially disputed the finding of the U.S. intelligence community that Russian President Vladimir Putin had sought to aid Trump.

Democrats had tried to include full transcripts of more than 60 witness interviews in their rebuttal report released at the same time, but Schiff said Republicans voted to block them before making it public — despite several Republicans having said publicly they supported doing so.

“Apparently the public will have to wait until the majority changes to see what kind of investigation the majority was doing,” Schiff said in the interview. “I think probably the reason why the Republicans decided to renege on their commitment is, the transcripts reveal among other things how often the majority acted as defense lawyers for the president rather than true investigators. And I think they’re embarrassed by that.”

The committee interviewed most, but not all, of the key witnesses in the Russia investigation, including the president's son Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner; and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Democrats are pressing ahead with their own investigation and seeking cooperation from other witnesses, though they lack the ability to subpoena witnesses and other documents to do the kind of thorough probe they said Republicans refused to conduct.

CORRECTION (June 7, 5:15 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated one of three key witnesses in the Russia investigation who were interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. It was Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, not Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman.