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A few days ago, the House Intelligence Committee finally released transcripts of 53 interviews it conducted in 2017-18 regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. Though the Committee had voted in November 2018 to release the transcripts after national security reviews for classified information were completed, new chairman Adam Schiff refused to do so until now because he had repeatedly lied to the media and public about what was said in those interviews and releasing the transcripts would show he was lying.
Under pressure from Acting DNI Richard Grenell, who publicly announced release was fine from a national security perspective and threatened to release the transcripts himself, Schiff finally relented.
I’ve now read 19 of the 53 interviews and will write at more length when finished but wanted to pass along some fascinating quotes. And, by the way, it’ll come as no surprise there is absolutely no evidence, direct or indirect, in what I’ve read so far of any collusion between the Trump campaign or Trump personally with the Russians.
The first quote is from the February 27, 2018, interview with Hope Hicks, Trump’s press secretary during the campaign and then communications director for the first couple of years of his presidency, given in response to questions about collusion with the Russians by the Trump campaign:
“Not to say that Russia’s interference wasn’t something to be taken seriously, but that our involvement in that was sort of laughable, given that we were like the Forrest Gump of campaigns. We couldn’t spell the address to our Iowa field office right and yet we colluded with Vladimir Putin to steal the election. It was sort of a hilarious narrative to us.” (p.155)
In the interviews with Hicks and others, like Corey Lewandowski, the ramshackle, improvised nature of the Trump campaign comes through over and over again. They made amateurish mistakes and were incapable of pulling off a coordinated campaign of collusion. The Democrats on the panel must have been thinking, “how did we lose to these bozos?”.
Earlier in her interview, Hicks was asked about Trump’s private comments about Russia and she responded, “his private comments echo his public comments.” I think we all now know this to be true, for better and for worse. The President talks the same to us as he does with his staff.
On June 22, 2017, Dan Coats, then Director National Intelligence and former Senator, was interviewed by the committee. Coats was not personally close to Trump before or after his nomination to become DNI, but he recounted an extraordinary moment when meeting with the President a couple of days after his inauguration and an upset Trump suddenly started talking about Comey’s briefing on January 6, during which he was informed of the dossier and his alleged romp with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room. According to Coats, the President said;
“I want to — I swear to you on the soul of my son, I had nothing to do with the prostitution. And for them to take me aside and raise this issue and then have it leaked, he said, how would you like it if — how do you go home and talk to your wife when it is plastered all over the place that you were using prostitutes in Russia and you are having your family hear that and having your son hear that?”. (p.13)
Given what we know now about the collusion hoax and the frame-up by Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Mueller, and the media, you can really understand how Trump must have felt at the time.Published in