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Reason for Schiff’s reported ‘panic’ becomes clear as he scrambles to release transcripts ahead of acting DNI Grenell

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There’s a reason Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was apparently in “panic mode.”

Citing a senior administration official, Fox News reported Thursday that Schiff “is in panic mode,” as transcripts of the panel’s Russia investigation interviews cleared for release showed top law enforcement and intelligence officials affirming they had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Keeping in mind that the Trump-hating chairman has gone on national television to declare that there was “direct evidence” of collusion, that might be reason enough to panic, but there’s more to the story.

Schiff reportedly was planning a partial release of transcripts from the committee’s Russian collusion investigation — selective releases allow the Democrat to control the narrative. However, acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell blew that plan up when he announcing that he would release all of the transcripts in full Friday.

Grenell’s announcement forced Schiff’s hand, according to Townhall’s Katie Pavlich.

“Acting DNI Grenell planned on releasing these transcripts tomorrow at 10 a.m. Schiff then had no choice but to get ahead of it by releasing them today. ODNI also has them up now,” she tweeted.

Right on cue, Schiff took to Twitter late Thursday to release the transcripts in full — still endeavoring to set the media narrative by claiming what the transcripts appear to disprove.

(The “bipartisan” vote he speaks of is in reference to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.)

Schiff said in a tweet: “Trump’s campaign invited Russian help, made full use of it, then covered it up. Then, Trump sought more illicit help from Ukraine, leading to his impeachment and a bipartisan vote to convict. Read just released transcripts from our Russia investigation.”

Schiff had to scramble to get ahead of the story because the DNI would release the transcripts on its own less than an hour later.

The release included a statement from Grenell: “At the bipartisan request of HPSCI, the Intelligence Community reviewed all transcripts for classification and made appropriate redactions. HPSCI voted unanimously in 2018 to publicly release these transcripts, it is long past time that these are released.”

On a May 4 letter to Schiff, the acting Director of National Intelligence informed him that 53 interviews conducted by the committee are ready for release and urged him to “honor your previous public statements,” the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reported.

“All of the transcripts, with our required redactions, can be released to the public without any concerns of disclosing classified material,” Grenell 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 continued. “I am also willing to release the transcripts directly from the ODNI, as to ensure we comply with unanimous and bipartisan vote to release the transcripts.”

In effect, Grenell is saying ‘release the transcripts or I will.’

Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland said in a statement that the report on the release was “untrue,” claiming the White House “held up the release of the transcripts with the acquiescence of the ODNI.”

“The Chairman has been pushing for these transcripts to be released for almost two years, and these deliberate misrepresentations by Grenell and his staff are exactly the type of behavior you get when a president installs a political operative without any national security experience or qualification as DNI,” Boland claimed.

The transcripts include interviews with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr., and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

A number of top officials are also included — with a noted parade citing no evidence of collusion, as Fox News reporter Brooke Singman reported in a series of tweets:

Turns out, it was known early on that there was no “direct evidence” of collusion, as seen in a tweet from The Federalist’s Sean Davis, which cited a 2017 interview with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” the included quote from Clapper reads.

And while there’s much being gleaned from the transcripts, there appears to be more to come — and potentially more “panic” from Schiff and his co-conspirators, who tried and failed to take out a duly elected president.

Citing colleague Ed Henry, Fox News reporter Kevin Corke tweeted that Grenell is “planning to release new trove of documents as early as tomorrow. Expected to be related to the #Russia probe and will be significant.”

 

Tom Tillison

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