US Judiciary Committee to Release Transcripts of Trump Tower Meeting Interviews

Protesters wearing blue fill hearing to protest Grassley ignoring 'blue slip rule'

Protesters wearing blue fill hearing to protest Grassley ignoring 'blue slip rule'

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Thursday that the committee would start releasing "all witness interviews that we have done related to that meeting" right away and "get them out to the public for everyone to see", as the panel's interviews with "witnesses surrounding the Trump Tower meeting are complete". Ahead of the meeting, Trump Jr. had emailed with British publicist Rob Goldstone, who told Trump's eldest son that the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Veselnitskaya maintained that the original goal of the meeting was to discuss sanctions that had been levied against Russian Federation.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and current White House senior adviser Jared Kushner did not testify before the committee.

Grassley said that he had reviewed the Senate Intelligence Committee's Manafort transcript and now hoped to do the same for Kushner. He blamed Kushner's reticence on Senator Dianne Feinstein's decision to publicly release testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, whose firm worked on the dossier that alleges ties between Trump and Russian Federation.

"That has spooked other potential witnesses", Grassley said in a statement.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, expressed delight in response to Mr Grassley's comments.

Over 200 Republicans have read the Nunes memo, so it will be interesting to see if Democrats flock to read the Democratic memo, given that only a dozen of them have bothered to read the memo approved by Chairman Nunes.

Senator Grassley said Senator Feinstein's decision meant the committee's chances of "getting a voluntary interview with Mr Kushner have been shot". The comment surprised some Democrats given that committees rarely defer key witnesses to other panels.But with the committee's Trump Tower interviews wrapped up, Grassley said he would move to release the transcripts "as soon as possible".

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The powerful head of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday accused the and the of bad faith in trying to suppress key sensitive details of the Russian election meddling scandal in 2016 and the Obama administration's handling of the investigation.

While the committee did not interview Kushner, they did speak with Trump Jr.in September.

Separately Thursday, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Republicans who have been escalating attacks on the FBI and Justice Department as Mueller's investigation has come closer to Trump's inner circle. "He has already provided his account to the intelligence committee".

"What began as an attempt to discredit the investigator has now devolved into delusional, self-serving paranoia", Schumer said in a morning floor speech.

Schumer singled out a classified memo that the House Intelligence Committee has produced and may move to make public. She also said she thinks they should be turned over to Mueller. Republicans have said the memo alleges Federal Bureau of Investigation misconduct and some have argued that the public should see it.

A release from the committee said that the referral, which is based on both classified and publicly available information unearthed by investigators, does not pertain to the veracity of claims in the dossier.

Republican senators have been mostly silent on the memo as House Republicans have hinted at its eventual release. The committee also received a written response to questions from Veselnistkaya it also intends to release.In lieu of talking to Kushner himself, Grassley noted that both Kushner and Manafort spoke with the Senate Intelligence Committee past year.

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