In 2017 and 2018, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) undertook an investigation into Russia’s interference campaign targeting the 2016 U.S. election. The Committee’s investigation came on the heels of an Intelligence Community assessment, which found:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”
Democrats on the Committee affirmed that judgement, as did Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee. Throughout its investigation, the Committee uncovered significant evidence of Trump campaign efforts to seek, make use of, and cover up Russian help in the 2016 presidential election. To date, two witnesses have been convicted and sentenced to prison terms for lying and attempting to obstruct the Committee’s investigation.
Ultimately, this pattern of misconduct and deceit continued when President Trump once again sought to coerce a foreign government into providing him illicit assistance with his reelection campaign, this time from Ukraine. For his efforts, President Trump was impeached in the House and became the first ever U.S. President to to receive bipartisan votes to convict in the Senate.
As part of its commitment to transparency, today the Committee is releasing fifty-seven transcripts of witness interviews during the course of the Russia inquiry, as well as additional relevant material, so that every American can see the facts and decide for themselves:
Is this conduct ok?
After releasing the transcripts, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) stated:
“From 2017 to 2018, the House Intelligence Committee conducted an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Despite the many barriers put in our way by the then-Republican Majority, and attempts by some key witnesses to lie to us and obstruct our investigation, the transcripts that we are releasing today show precisely what Special Counsel Robert Mueller also revealed: That the Trump campaign, and Donald Trump himself, invited illicit Russian help, made full use of that help, and then lied and obstructed the investigations in order to cover up this misconduct.
Unfortunately, the President’s misconduct did not end with his election in 2016 or his attempts to cover up that effort. Rather, in the course of his presidency, he continued to seek illicit foreign help in his campaign by coercing another nation, Ukraine, to smear his opponent. After making use of Russia’s help with his first presidential campaign, President Trump pressed the Ukrainian president to help him in 2020 by withholding critical military aid to that country and a coveted head of state meeting.
These acts ultimately led to the President’s impeachment in the House of Representatives and the first bipartisan vote in the Senate in our history in support of a conviction of a President of the United States. The President’s efforts to make use of the help of a foreign power to win an election, and then to extort yet another foreign power to try to win again, represent a grave threat to the health of our democracy now and in the future.
The transcripts released today richly detail evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election. Special Counsel Robert Mueller identified in his report similar, and even more extensive, evidence of improper links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government. A bipartisan Senate investigation also found that Russia sought to help the candidacy of Donald Trump in 2016.
While Special Counsel Mueller found insufficient evidence to prove the crime of criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, he refused to draw any conclusion on the issue of collusion — contrary to false representations made by Attorney General Bill Barr and others. There is ample evidence of the corrupt interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia, both direct and circumstantial, in the record:
- In June of 2016, a Russian delegation offered dirt on Donald Trump’s rival—presidential candidate Hillary Clinton—to the highest levels of the Trump campaign, and did so in writing. Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., accepted that offer, and then set up a secret meeting between the Russian delegation, himself, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to discuss that illicit help. When news of the meeting was about to break, Trump and his son drafted a false statement for the press together in order to cover up the true purpose of the meeting. This written offer of illegal help by the Russians and its acceptance by the President’s campaign, and the secret meeting that followed, provide some of the most damning and direct evidence of the President’s to make use of Russia’s assistance in the election.
- Throughout the summer of 2016, the Trump campaign and candidate Trump himself repeatedly sought damaging information on Clinton from Russia. In July of 2016, Trump publicly called on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, and – as the Special Counsel found – that night, Russian military intelligence officers did precisely that. Our transcripts show that numerous individuals affiliated with or working for the Trump campaign were in communication with individuals offering help to set up private backchannels with the Russian government.
- Multiple witnesses sought to hide and cover up illicit activity related to Russia during the presidential campaign. One-time campaign advisor and close confidant to Trump, Roger Stone, has been sentenced to prison for lying to the Committee about his advanced knowledge of impending WikiLeaks releases of Clinton campaign information. Former personal attorney to Trump, Michael Cohen, was imprisoned in part on charges that he lied to the Committee about Trump’s role in arranging a lucrative business deal in Russia during the course of his campaign and early presidency. The President’s pursuit of Trump Tower Moscow — potentially the most lucrative deal of his life — while lying to the American people about his business interests in Russia, provided the most serious counterintelligence risk to the United States.
- Another associate of Trump, Erik Prince, misled our Committee about his efforts to take part in a secret backchannel with a senior Russian government official while he was unofficially supporting the Trump campaign.
- And the transcripts also show that during the transition period in late 2016, the incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn undertook efforts to undermine U.S. sanctions on Russia imposed by the previous administration over Russia’s interference in the election on Trump’s behalf. Flynn would later lie to the FBI about these efforts, and the President would try to pressure then-FBI Director Comey to shut down any investigation into Flynn. It would take the firing of then Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the later appointment of an unscrupulous Attorney General, Bill Barr, for the President to achieve his aim of seeking dismissal of the case against Flynn, and only after Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI.
Despite taking part in this investigation and hearing these facts first-hand, the transcripts reveal how House Republicans used witness interviews not to gain the facts, but to press President Trump’s false narrative of ‘no collusion, no obstruction.’ It would be a pattern they would follow throughout the Russia investigation and into the President’s subsequent Ukraine misconduct. To that end, House Republicans sought to use the Committee’s Russia investigation to undermine the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia sought to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. That assessment has been affirmed by this Committee’s Democrats, the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, and Special Counsel Mueller.
These transcripts should have been released long before now, but the White House held up their release to the public by refusing to allow the Intelligence Community to make redactions on the basis of classified information, rather than White House political interests. Only now, and during a deadly pandemic, has the President released his hold on this damning information and evidence.
Like the Ukraine investigation that would follow it, the investigation into the Trump campaign’s effort to seek and utilize Russian help in 2016 and to obstruct justice, reveal a President who believes that he is above the law. But we are a country where the truth still matters and where right still matters. Our investigation into the Trump campaign, and the evidence we uncovered despite formidable obstruction, affirms that.”Read the full statement here.
- Letter from HPSCI to Acting Director of Intelligence Richard Grenell (May 7, 2020)
- Correspondence between HPSCI and Office of Director of National Intelligence and White House (November 2018 – May 2020)
- Interview Transcript of Rinat Akhmetshin (November 13, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Stephen Bannon (January 16, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Stephen Bannon (February 15, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Andrew Brown (August 30, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Michael Caputo (July 14, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of John Carlin (July 27, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Thomas Catan (October 18, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of James Clapper (July 17, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Samuel Clovis (December 12, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Dan Coats (June 22, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Michael Cohen (October 24, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Rick Dearborn (January 17, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Diana Denman (December 5, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Marc Elias (December 13, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Boris Ephsteyn (September 28, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Evelyn Farkas (June 26, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Peter Fritsch (October 18, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Michael Goldfarb (December 12, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Rob Goldstone (December 18, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Jeffrey Gordon (July 26, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Rhona Graff (December 22, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Shawn Henry (December 5, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Hope Hicks (February 27, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Ike Kaveladze (November 2, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of David Kramer (December 19, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of David Kramer (January 10, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Jared Kushner (July 25, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Corey Lewandowski (January 17, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Corey Lewandowski (March 8, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Loretta Lynch (October 20, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Simona Mangiante (July 18, 2018)
- Interview Transcript of Andrew McCabe (December 19, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Mary McCord (November 1, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Alexander Nix (December 14, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Carter Page (November 2, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Brad Parscale (October 24, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Walid Phares (December 8, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of John Podesta (June 27, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of John Podesta (December 4, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Samantha Power (October 13, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Erik Prince (November 30, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Benjamin Rhodes (October 25, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Susan Rice (September 8, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Jonathan Saffron (October 12, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Anatoli Samochornov (November 28, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Felix Sater (December 20, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Keith Schiller (November 7, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Jefferson Sessions (November 30, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Roger J. Stone, Jr. (September 26, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Jake Sullivan (December 21, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Michael Sussman (December 18, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Matthew Tait (October 6, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Yared Tamene Wolde-Yohannes (August 30, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Donald Trump, Jr. (December 6, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Witness Name Redacted (December 20, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Sally Yates (November 3, 2017)
- Interview Transcript of Christopher Wylie (April 25, 2018)
- House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – Democratic Minority Views (March 26, 2018)
- House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – Republican Report on Russian Active Measures (March 22, 2018)