Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Thursday said the panel has concluded interviewing witnesses to the July 2016 Trump Tower meeting, and blamed Democrats for “spooking” potential witnesses—including top Donald Trump aide Jared Kushner.
Grassley also said “it’s time to start release” of the transcripts surrounding that meeting.
“I have said all along that I favor as much transparency as possible in our investigations—but at the appropriate time, so we don’t undermine our work,” Grassley wrote in a statement. “I had hoped to speak with all the witnesses surrounding the Trump Tower meeting before releasing any of those interview transcripts. But the ranking member [Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)] unilaterally released the transcript of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. That has spooked other potential witnesses.”
“As a result, it looks like our chances of getting a voluntary interview with Mr. Kushner have been shot,” Grassley wrote. “He has already provided his account to the Intelligence Committee.”
Earlier this month, Feinstein released a transcript of Simpson’s testimony before the committee without consulting Grassley. Her decision came as Republicans ramped up their efforts to discredit the dossier compiled with he helped of Simpsons’ firm, Fusion GPS.
“The innuendo and misinformation circulating about the transcript are part of a deeply troubling effort to undermine the investigation,” Feinstein said at the time.
Grassley said Feinstein’s decision to release that transcript “undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work. The ranking Democrat later said she regretted not informing Grassley about her decision before releasing Simpson’s testimony.
“I don’t make an excuse but I’ve had a bad cold and maybe that slowed down my mental facilities a little bit,” she said.
Despite Grassley’s supposed frustration with Feinstein’s decision to release Simpson’s testimony, the GOP committee chairman claims he is now interested in full transparency on those witness testimonies.
“Let’s get them out there for everyone to see,” he wrote.