The House Intelligence Committee has released a 248-page heavily redacted report on supposed Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Not surprisingly, they found no collusion and criticized the intelligence community for “significant intelligence tradecraft failings.”
The 248-page report, of which some pages were completely redacted after review by FBI and DOJ officials, have [sic] raised the ire of committee Republicans and will lead to a review of the report once again in an effort to un-redact elements of the report that the Committee says does [sic] not relate to the classified material. Numerous Congressional committees have complained openly that the DOJ and FBI continue to “stonewall” their investigations and have slow rolled documents needed for adequate oversight of the highly controversial investigations into Trump and the Bureau’s handling of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, said in a press release that due to public interest and the importance of the report the Committee chose to make the report public. Nunes has had to threaten Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray with contempt of Congress before documents have been provided. It’s a battle that he continues to fight but one that has slowed down the progress of the Committee’s investigations, say congressional sources, familiar with the investigations.
Nunes stated in the press release that “we object to the excessive and unjustified number of redactions, many of which do not relate to classified information. The Committee will convey our objections to the appropriate agencies and looks forward to publishing a less redacted version in the near future.”
Several House committees have criticized both the DOJ and the intelligence community for “stonewalling” and slow-walking documents requested by Congress. That’s why Republicans believe that many of the redactions are self-serving and were made to cover failings by the CIA and other agencies.
But buried in the report are some eye-opening revelations about former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who leaked information from a classified briefing on the Steele dossier to CNN and then lied to Congress about doing it.
In one of the findings within the 253-page report, the House intelligence committee wrote that Clapper leaked details of a dossier briefing given to then-President-elect Donald Trump to CNN’s Jake Tapper, lied to Congress about the leak, and was rewarded with a CNN contract a few months later.
“Clapper flatly denied ‘discussing[ing] the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists,'” the committee found.
When asked directly whether he had ever discussed the dossier with any journalists, Clapper replied that he had not, according to a transcript of the proceedings:
MR. ROONEY: Did you discuss the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists?
MR. CLAPPER: No.
The former DNI later changed his story after he was confronted specifically about his communications with Jake Tapper of CNN.
“Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’ and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic,” the report continued. “Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time IC leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on ‘the Christopher Steele information,’ a two-page summary of which was ‘enclosed in’ the highly-classified version of the ICA,” or intelligence community assessment.
The briefing of Trump by U.S. intelligence chiefs was held on January 6. CNN published its story on the briefing, based on anonymous leaks from “two national security officials,” on January 10. BuzzFeed published the full dossier, which was jointly funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, minutes after the CNN story was published.
Why do some public servants get to “change their story” after lying to Congress while ordinary citizens get thrown in the slammer? Are some government types accorded a do-over? Maybe they get three tries to tell the truth and the first two don’t count.
This story is not done yet, not by a long shot. Piece by piece, Congress is going to pull the truth from the Justice Department and the intelligence community about the handling of the dossier, as well as several investigations surrounding Hillary Clinton.
It’s not going to be easy with the CIA hiding behind “national security” and DOJ claiming they don’t want to “interfere in ongoing investigations.” But now we know why Democrats did not want this report released and why they continue to run interference for officials who lied to Congress — and worse.