Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell on Friday implied that he plans to release the transcripts of December 2016 phone calls between former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
“Those are coming. It’s very important for the public to see ALL of them. For too long the public has been misled,” Grenell tweeted at Representative Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.), who challenged him to release the transcripts.
Those are coming. It’s very important for the public to see ALL of them. For too long the public has been misled. Just compare your committee’s transcripts to your public statements! #troubling https://t.co/gzyNJuQJDY
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 22, 2020
Swalwell’s request comes after House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) changed tune and asked Grenell to declassify the transcripts.
It’s clear the Administration is selectively declassifying information for purely political purposes, an abuse of the classification system.
We need to ensure a transparent and complete public record free of political manipulation.
It’s time to declassify any Flynn transcripts: pic.twitter.com/Uhfl166Fyh
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 22, 2020
Flynn’s call with Kislyak, which came after the Obama administration ramped up sanctions on Russia for 2016 election interference, led to a January 2017 White House interview with FBI agents and an eventual guilty plea for lying to investigators during the Mueller investigation. But the Justice Department dropped the case against Flynn earlier this month, arguing that the interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis,” citing newly-disclosed evidence showing that the FBI moved to close its surveillance of Flynn on January 4, 2017, after finding “no derogatory information” with respect to Flynn’s Russian contacts.
Grenell, who took over as acting DNI in February and will be replaced by Representative John Ratcliffe (R., Texas) — whom the Senate voted Thursday to confirm — has declassified and released a number of documents related to the Russia probe during his time in the role.
Last week, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) asked Grenell to testify about a list of former Obama administration officials who requested to “unmask” Flynn’s identity in intelligence reports after it was picked up in national-security surveillance. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius broke news of Flynn’s calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on January 12, 2017.
Grenell also declassified a Susan Rice email-to-self which detailed a January 5, 2017 Oval Office meeting in which former president Obama brought up Flynn’s calls — which were unknown at the time to former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, according to her own testimony.