The House Intelligence Committee voted Wednesday to send dozens of Russia probe transcripts to the special counsel’s office in a move that signals fresh legal jeopardy for any witness who lied under oath.
The move puts new pressure on top members of President Trump’s inner circle — especially his son, Don Jr.
Multiple Democrats have publicly questioned whether Don Jr.’s testimony before the committee was truthful. Mueller has already slapped charges on two other former top members of Trump’s inner circle for lying to the committee: Trump’s former attorney and “fixer,” Michael Cohen, and his longtime political adviser, Roger Stone.
The committee transcribed 64 interviews during the course of its previous probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to a document released by its Democratic members after the investigation was shuttered in March by its former Republican leadership. At least one Democrat on the committee, Rep. Jackie Speier, has publicly accused the House Republican leadership of deliberately slowing down the panel’s work by delaying the appointment of new members after the midterm elections.
But Republicans on the committee issued a statement, claiming they’d long sought the release of the transcripts. Instead GOP members of the House intel committee blamed intelligence officials for slow-walking their declassification review and suggested that sending the transcripts over to Mueller had been part of their plan all along.
“In light of the unacceptable delay in the Director of National Intelligence’s declassification review, we hope the Democrats will now join us in further increasing transparency by voting to immediately publish all the unclassified transcripts that we previously sent to the executive branch,” the statement read.
The vote comes less than 24 hours after Trump called for an end to “ridiculous” investigations during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night. In his speech, Trump warned, without evidence, that spiraling probes into his administration, campaign, inauguration, real estate company and charitable foundation might somehow damage the economy.
“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States, and the only things that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous, partisan investigations,” Trump said.
He also appeared to warn that he wouldn’t work with Democrats in Congress if they continue probing his inner circle.
“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” Trump said. “It just doesn't work that way.”
Cover: Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, left, speaks with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., at an event marking 100 days since the death of Jamal Khashoggi on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)