Russia Probe Interviews Cleared for Release

by Daveda Gruber:

The Democrat from California, Adam Schiff, who is the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, has been given the green light to publicly release the transcripts from the panel’s Russia probe.

Richard Grenell, who is the acting Director of National Intelligence, has given Schiff the clearance needed to give the documentation to Republicans who have been demanding access to the documents.

A letter from Grenell dated May 4th went out to Schiff informing him that transcripts of the entire fifty-three interviews related to foreign interference in the 2016 election, which have more than 6,000 pages in total, can be released.

Grenell said in the letter that there will be redactions.

In September of 2018, the committee voted to release the transcripts of witness interviews that they conducted during the panel’s Russia probe. The vote was unanimous and bipartisan.

The transcripts were sent out to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for an interagency classification review in November of 2018. This was apparently done to prevent an unintended disclosure of classified information.

Forty-three of the fifty-three transcripts were reviewed and completed in June of 2019 according to Grenell.

According to FOX News Grenell wrote, “As of today, the interagency review of the remaining ten transcripts has been completed, as well.

He then added that “pursuant to your guidance, these transcripts have not been shared with the White House.”

Grenell also wrote, “In the interests of transparency and accountability, I urge you to honor your previous public statements, and your Committee’s unanimous vote on this matter, to release all 53 cleared transcripts to all Members of Congress and the American public as soon as possible.

He also wrote that he was “willing” to release the transcripts directly from ODNI “as to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts.”

Grenell went on in his letter to say, “In the interests of transparency and accountability, I urge you to honor your previous public statements, and your Committee’s unanimous vote on this matter, to release all 53 cleared transcripts to all Members of Congress and the American public as soon as possible.”

He also said in the letter that he was “willing” to release the transcripts directly from ODNI “as to ensure we comply with the unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts.”

Schiff’s actions have not gone over well with House Republicans and they have accused him  of blocking the Russia probe transcripts. This week they demanded Schiff give them access to the interview transcripts.

The Republicans sent a letter calling for the public release of the transcripts. The letter was signed by the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee:

Representative Jim Jordan

Representative Mike Johnson

Representative Ken Buck

Representative James Sensenbrenner

Representative Chip Roy

Representative Michael Cloud

Representative James Comer

Representative Jody Hice

Representative Glenn Grothman

Representative Steve Chabot

Representative Matt Gaetz

Representative Andy Biggs

Representative Ben Cline

Representative Doug Collins

Representative Guy Reschenthaler

Representative Louie Gohmert

Representative Kelly Armstrong

Representative Paul Gosar

Representative Thomas Massie

Representative Greg Steube

Representative Bob Gibbs

Representative Clay Higgins

Representative Ralph Norman

Representative Carol Miller

Representative Fred Keller

Representative Tom McClintock

Representative Debbie Lesko.

Their letter stated, “We understand now that Chairman Schiff is blocking the release of these transcripts. This news, if accurate, is disturbing—especially in light of Chairman Schiff’s cries in 2019 for transparency regarding allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.”

The letter went on to say, “For nearly four years, prominent Democrat politicians and commentators alleged that President Trump colluded with Russia, with Chairman Schiff going so far as to say that he had ‘direct evidence’ of collusion. Now that these allegations have been disproven by several investigations, the American people deserve to have transparency about why public figures such as Chairman Schiff continue to promote such wild accusations.”

What Schiff will do with the transcripts now is your guess as well as everyone else’s. He may release the redacted version in whole or he may pick and choose which ones he wants to release but all eyes will be on him and his next course of action.

The fact that there is redacted information is disturbing. When can the public see the entire truth? Never?

The ball is in shifty Schiff’s court but I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.

Will there be a Durham Report?

by Daveda Gruber:

The end of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation will not be coming in March as sources were alleging. In fact, there won’t be a report at all.

Now it is being reported that the investigation into the origins of the Russia probe by the U.S. attorney for Connecticut will not be finished until the end of the summer.

The delay is alleged to be at least partly because of coronavirus pandemic that is affecting America and the rest of the world.

During a House Rules Committee meeting that was focused on reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act last week, Representative Jim Jordan, who is a Republican from Ohio, was reported to have conveyed the same timeline.

The Washington Examiner reported that in reference to Durham’s investigation that Jordan explained, “His investigation is due to be completed sometime this summer.”

In 2008, Durham was appointed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations. On November 8, 2010, Durham closed the investigation without recommending any criminal charges be filed.

Last year Attorney General William Barr appointed Durham to review the events leading up to the 2016 presidential election and through President Trump’s January 20, 2017 inauguration.

It has been reported that Durham has since expanded his investigation to cover a post-election timeline spanning the spring of 2017. That is when Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel.

Representative Doug Collins, the Republican from Georgia, served as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. He left the role after announcing a Senate campaign. It was reported to have said that Durham’s probe will likely lead to criminal charges.

It was reported by FOX News that Collins said, “This is not going to be a Mueller report; there won’t be a report.”

Collins  went on to say “When he’s ready to charge people, he’ll charge people. And that’s when we’ll know.”

It has also been reported that Collins explained that Barr had expanded Durham’s reach into the intelligence community.

He added that he has “grand juries” and “everything else” at his disposal.

CIA officials and other officials in the intelligence community were investigated by Durham and former CIA Director John Brennan has made it clear that Durham plans to interview him and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Those interviews have not taken place according to alleged reports.

It is alleged that a handful of House Democrats are asking that Durham step aside according to Congressman Andy Biggs the Republican from Arizona who is on the House Judiciary Committee.

Nothing in life is guaranteed but I was looking forward to a report by Durham. Now it appears that no report is coming and that government officials will know what Durham finds when indictments begin and the investigation is officially declared over.

So, toilet paper isn’t the only paper I may or may not have in the summer. I won’t have a report to read and I was looking forward to that.

More and more conspiracy theories are creeping into my head and building  up because Durham’s investigation has been slowed down by the coronavirus.

Does this little bit of information get you thinking? It should if you are inquisitive like I am. It will be a long summer.

 

Who’s Upset with Shifty Schiff?

by Daveda Gruber:

Republicans on Capitol Hill are becoming more vocal in their support of President Trump.

Lawmakers who are aligned with the president are complaining that the House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is not handling the impeachment inquiry the way it should be done.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, gave Schiff some harsh criticism for excluding some congressional Republicans from the hearings where testimony is being given. He also made reference to leaks that came out that were “cherry-picked” from the closed-door hearings and leaked to the press.

Jordan, in speaking about testimony from Fiona Hill, a former deputy assistant to the president said, “She was going to come voluntarily but he’s going to subpoena her I believe so he can ask certain questions and again keep those secret except for the certain things that he wants to leak, the cherry-picked information to the American people.”

Lee Wolosky, Hill’s attorney, tweeted on Monday that the former deputy assistant to the president had received a congressional subpoena.

On Monday, Wolosky tweeted this:

Jordan said, “The tragedy here and the crime here is that the American people don’t get to see what’s going on in these up in these sessions.”

Jordan is joined by Matt Gaerz in his support of Trump.

Jordan tweeted:

It appears that Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, will testify on Thursday.

Sondland will be questioned on a collection of text messages from top envoys that provide a dramatic account of their work while acting as intermediaries around the time Trump spoke to Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymr Zelenskiy, on the now famous transcript of the July 25th call that President Trump released to start investigations into a company linked to the family of Democratic presidential runner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

There are expectations that came from the so called “whistleblower” that Sondland might tell lawmakers that he understood that the administration was offering Zelenskiy a White House visit in exchange for a public statement committing to investigations that Trump wanted.

Songland will likely say that he did not know the company being talked about for an investigation was Burisma.

Burisima was allegedly tied to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Sondland apparently understood the discussions about combating corruption to be part of a much broader and publicized Trump administration wish. This is a part of what the “whistleblower” letter had said.

The still anonymous “whistleblower’s” identity is still a concern to Democratic lawmakers who are hell-bent on protecting the person from Trump’s threats over the matter.
On Sunday, Schiff said, “We don’t need the whistleblower, who wasn’t on the call, to tell us what took place during the call. We have the best evidence of that.”

Schiff continued that it “may not be necessary” to reveal the whistleblower’s identity as the House gathers evidence.

Schiff went on to say, “Our primary interest right now is making sure that person is protected.”

What say you? Are you convinced that Trump could possibly harm this anonymous person?

I say NO! The president should be able to confront his accuser.

This is a Kangaroo Court that is headed by Shifty Schiff and his pals in Congress.

McCarthy Calls on Pelosi to End Impeachment Inquiry

by Daveda Gruber:

On Thursday House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy R-Calif., sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling on her to suspend the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Citing the need for “transparent and equitable rules and procedures” to be established, McCarthy criticized Pelosi about the “swiftness and recklessness” which House committee chairs have proceeded with the impeachment inquiry.

McCarthy also brought up the need for Republican participation in the proceedings.

McCarthy said in his letter, “Unfortunately, you have given no clear indication as to how your impeachment inquiry will proceed – including whether key historical precedents or basic standards of due process will be observed. In addition, the swiftness and recklessness with which you have proceeded has already resulted in committee chairs attempting to limit minority participation in scheduled interviews, calling into question the integrity of such an inquiry.”

The Minority leader took to Twitter and tweeted:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was alleged to have been leaning to limiting Republicans’ ability to ask questions during Thursday’s testimony by former U.S. envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker.

Quite a few questions were posed to Pelosi by McCarthy in the letter. He asks Pelosi if she has plans to hold a full House vote on authorizing the impeachment inquiry.

McCarthy, in the letter, also asks the speaker whether or not she plans to grant subpoena powers to both the committee chairs and the ranking members. It also asks Pelosi whether she’ll allow trump’s lawyers to attend the hearings.

Generally, it appears that McCarthy was asking Pelosi for a fair shake in the questioning of former American diplomat Kurt Volker.

There are representatives from the Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees, but only the Intelligence Committee can ask questions.

Republicans who have been in the closed door session are already commenting.

Jim Jordan R-OH., came out of the non-televised session during a break and spoke to reporters.

Here is what he had to say:

According to Jordan, Volker, who resigned from his post as the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine until his resignation on September 27, 2019, voluntarily answered questions and gave responses that were not to the detriment of the president.

This impeachment investigation started over a phone call in which Trump allegedly asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s family’s dealings in the Ukraine.

It is alleged that Trump threatened to withhold $400 million in military aid unless the Ukraine investigated Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s dealing with that country.