On 7 May, the House Intelligence Committee released 57 transcripts of interviews held between 2017 and 2018 as part of the Russia investigation.
However, the publication does not appear to have played out in the way the committee's chairman, Adam Schiff, planned in March 2018. At the time, he lambasted the Republicans for their attempts "to protect the president" and vowed to release "the entire body of witness transcripts" "so the public can see the facts for themselves".
The first thing the public learned on Thursday – when the transcripts were finally released – was that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a long-time proponent of the Russia-Trump collusion narrative, "never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting [or] conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election". Nevertheless, being on air in April 2019, Clapper still insisted that there may have been some "passive collusion" between Trump and Russia, despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller finding nothing of the kind.
'Russiagate Campaign is in Shreds Now'
"Schiff seems to have shot himself in the foot here", deems Tony Kevin, former Australian ambassador to Poland and Cambodia. "While it will take time to sift through the thousands of pages, some of the juicier quotes have already made their way to the public and aroused comment".
The disclosure occurred on the same day when the Department of Justice dropped the charges against the former national security adviser to Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, who fell victim to an FBI perjury trap, as his defence stated, judging from the bureau's newly dumped internal files. The FBI notes clearly said that the agency had found no derogatory information about Flynn's ties with Russia.
DNI Clapper knew there was no collusion involving ANYONE from the Trump campaign, including Gen. Flynn.— PlayTheTrumpCard ⚡️ Text TRUMP to 88022 (@PlaysTrumpCard) May 7, 2020
I'll bet all the "anecdotal evidence" he's talking about is nothing more than the utter hogwash media reports fueled by the Comey crew leaks.
Also, @RepAdamSchiff is a liar. pic.twitter.com/1sPJXjE717
These two important positive developments have dealt a heavy blow to the Russia collusion narrative and "the Russiagate campaign in Washington is in shreds now", according to the former diplomat.
"The American obsession with Russiagate raged for over three years, bedevilling and weakening the entire Trump presidency: although the publication of the Mueller Report in April 2019 took some of the wind out of the Russia-haters’ sails", Kevin highlights.
The former Australian ambassador points out that "in addition to Clapper, the transcripts include interviews with Obama administration advisers Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power; former attorneys general Loretta Lynch, among others".
Obama officials find no evidence of #collusion ... #Mueller pic.twitter.com/FLm505J8yX— Kevin Corke (@kevincorke) May 7, 2020
"Rhodes, Rice, Power and Lynch likewise all admitted they hadn’t seen any specific evidence of 'collusion' between Trump and Russia", he stresses.
He expresses hope that this development will pave the way to a general understanding in the US that there was no Russian interference in the 2016 US elections whatsoever: "Julian Assange has always denied that Russia gave him the emails, and so separately has the Russian government, and so separately has former British ambassador and noted contrarian commentator Craig Murray who claims inside knowledge of what really happened", he recollects.
"Overall the signs are propitious for the US perhaps beginning to move on from its misguided and disastrous Russophobic obsessions of the past three years", he presumes.
'It Would Help Establish There Was No Meddling of Russia'
The content of the released transcripts have not caught anyone by surprise, as "we knew since the Mueller report published one year ago, and since the beginning of the case for the unbiased observers, that there was no conspiracy between the Trump team and Russia in the 2016 electoral campaign", admits Guy Mettan, Swiss politician, executive director of the Geneva Press Club, and author of "Creating Russophobia: From the Great Religious Schism to Anti-Putin Hysteria".
"It would help to establish there was no meddling of Russia in this campaign at all", the politician stresses. "The whole case is a scheme set up in order to artificially maintain the political tensions with Russia… So we could hope that this publication should pave the path to the truth, which is important for people who are struggling for more truth and impartiality in the international relations".
Perhaps, the unfolding situation "could help make the journalists and the Western media community a little bit more careful in the treatment of future similar cases of disinformation", Mettan envisions in an apparent reference to the aggressive "Russia collusion" media campaign launched by the US mainstream press from day one of Donald Trump's presidency.
"But I’m rather pessimistic", he adds. "As we can see nowadays with the coronavirus pandemic and the attacks against China, the same patterns are used in this new game. Only the target has been changed".
'More Documents Will be Forthcoming'
The newly-released transcripts are only the prelude to forthcoming revelations, says Larry Johnson, retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official.
"The document release confirms what President Trump has said all along — the claim that he and his campaign worked with Russia or that Russia was meddling to swing the election to Trump is a lie", the CIA veteran underscores.
Earlier, along with other Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), Johnson concluded that the infamous "hack" of the DNC server, blamed by the Democrats on "Russian hackers", never happened since it was most likely an inside job. He also subjected to scrutiny the conclusions of the DNC's private cyber-security contractor "CrowdStrike", which attributed the alleged "hack" to the Russians.
"More documents will be forthcoming and are likely to expose the key role that former President Barack Obama played in helping launch this attack on Donald Trump. The sworn testimony in these documents completely destroys the desperate Democrat narrative of Russian Collusion", the intelligence professional underscores.