Acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell has announced he’s working to declassify transcripts of phone calls between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian ambassador to the UN Sergey Kislyak.
Grenell revealed his plans in an exchange on Twitter with Democratic lawmaker Eric Swalwell, related to a request from House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff for transcripts of the calls between Flynn and Kislyak.
Schiff, also a Democrat, requested the transcripts as well as records related to 39 “unmasking” requests Obama administration officials made for intelligence reports mentioning Flynn, after the list was declassified and released 13th May.
“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!” Grenell said.
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
Grenell was referring to revelations in transcripts of Obama administration officials’ testimony to the House Intelligence Committee made 2017 – 2018, which were released 7th May – they showed officials made clear they’d not seen any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Nonetheless, at the same time Schiff, Swalwell and other Democrats repeatedly claimed the Trump campaign had indeed conspired with Russia, despite being aware there was no basis whatsoever for their allegations.
The calls between Flynn and Kislyak were made 29th December 2016 – the conversations were first revealed by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius 12th January 2017, via a classified leak. The story led to the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewing Flynn at the White House 12 days later – Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI during that interview, but later retracted his admission of guilt – the Justice Department filed a motion to drop the case 8th May this year.
It’s long-been speculated the leak was the result of a so-called unmasking request made by Obama administration officials, but the list of individuals who submitted requests for intelligence reports regarding Flynn didn’t fit the timeline of his call with Kislyak. Moreover, it’s been revealed Flynn’s name was never masked in intelligence reports related to his calls with Kislyak, as the FBI was then conducting surveillance on Kislyak, and possessed a transcript of his call with Flynn.
Grenell didn’t make clear when the declassification process will be complete.