In his last act as Acting Director of National Intelligence, Richard Grenell declassified the transcripts of intercepted phone calls between former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian Ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.
The now-declassified transcripts are in the hands of his successor, former Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), who was sworn in on Tuesday after the Senate confirmed him last Thursday by a vote of 49-44. Ratcliffe will decide whether they are released to the public, according to the New York Post.
Grenell said last week that he was in the process of declassifying the transcripts after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) made a written request for Grenell to do so, who was joined by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) – to which Grenell replied “Those are coming. It’s very important for the public to see ALL of them,” adding “For too long the public has been misled. Just compare your committee’s transcripts to your public statements!”
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
The move follows a scorching Monday letter Grenell wrote to Sen. Mark Warner, who requested on May 20 that Grenell declassify intelligence reports in which Obama administration officials had unmasked Flynn’s identity after Grenell revealed a list of ‘unmaskers.’
In response, Grenell said on Monday that he found it “puzzling” that Warner’s letter conveyed concerns over the declassification of Obama officials who unmasked Flynn – while in the next breath requesting the declassification and release of intelligence reports.
“Cherry-picking certain documents for release, while attacking the release of others that don’t fit your political narrative, is part of the problem the American people have with Washington D.C. politicians,” wrote Grenell, who then asked Warner to explain his “philosophy on transparency,” suggesting that “it appears to be solely on political advantage.”
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) May 26, 2020
Flynn was fired weeks after the Kislyak calls for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about the substance of the conversations, in which Flynn asked Russia not to escalate tension after the outgoing Obama administration slapped sanctions on the Kremlin in response to claims of election meddling in the 2016 election. Flynn later pleaded guilty in 2017 for lying to the FBI about the calls, however evidence emerged in his trial that the FBI was trying to ensnare him in a ‘perjury trap’ in which one option was to ‘try to get him to lie.’
“What’s our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?” reads one handwritten note by the FBI’s then-director of counterintelligence.
Last week, Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell joined former National Security Adviser Susan Rice in calling for the transcripts to be released.
Powell said last Wednesday on SiriusXM’s “The Dan Abrams Show” that she “would love” to see those conversations become public, arguing that she believes the transcript would help exonerate her client.
“I think the reason we haven’t seen [the transcripts] is because the word ‘sanctions’ doesn’t even appear in them,” she said at the time. –New York Post
After the FBI’s plot to target Flynn emerged, the Department of Justice moved to drop the case – which is currently being stonewalled by activist Judge Emmet Sullivan.