For the past two weeks, one GOP congressman has been on a mission to release transcripts of government officials who testified to Congress behind closed doors regarding the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, began releasing transcripts into the congressional record on March 8, starting with the closed-door testimony of Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr. Collins took to the House floor to explain his decision to release the transcripts, asking, is “the only ‘collusion’ among agency personnel who hated the president and started this investigation?”
Collins said that the transcripts were “pertinent to a congressional investigation,” but the investigation was ended after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives. Collins said further that the committee had given the DOJ time to review and redact information related to national security, but received little response from the department, so they made minor redactions and released the transcripts.
The 268-page transcript from Ohr’s testimony revealed that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and ex-British Spy Christopher Steele used Ohr to get their salacious claims about Russia collusion into the federal government. Ohr also revealed that, contrary to what House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff has said, the FBI had received reports from Steele as early as July 2016, not September 2016, as Schiff claimed.
Further, Ohr testified that Steele continued to feed him information after the ex-spy was no longer a credible source for the FBI. The FBI would interview Ohr as a backdoor to Steele’s intel.
Four days after releasing Ohr’s testimony, Collins returned to the House floor to publicly release former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s testimony.
“The American people deserve to know what transpired in the highest echelons of the FBI during that tumultuous time for the bureau,” Collins said at the time.
The Page testimony was explosive, as she had not been publicly interviewed by the committee or anyone else after her text messages with then-fellow FBI agent Peter Strzok, with whom she was having an affair, were revealed.
In her testimony, Page revealed that the FBI’s Russia investigation really was an “insurance policy” in the unlikely event that Donald Trump was elected president, and that investigators had only a “paucity” of evidence in the beginning, which they still used to launch investigations into the president. Page also suggested that it was President Barack Obama’s Justice Department that essentially told the FBI not to find Hillary Clinton responsible for “gross negligence” in regard to classified information being sent over her unsecured, private email server.
Two days after releasing Page’s testimony, Collins released Strzok’s. In his testimony, Strzok revealed that he deleted communications between himself and his mistress, Page, prior to being removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, but did so for “personal” reasons. He claimed to have deleted personal communications regarding his affair, but some of those messages showed anti-Trump sentiments and discussed the “insurance policy” of investigating “collusion” if Trump won the election.
On Sunday, Collins told Fox News host Maria Baritomo that he was planning to release more transcripts. Baritomo asked if Jim Baker, the former FBI lawyer who is now under criminal investigation for leaking to the media, was on the list for future transcript releases.
“There will be more transcripts released. Baker will be one that we're looking at releasing,” Collins responded.