With plenty of time on my hands during the bogus shutdown for the greatly hyped Cornavirus 19, like every other American, I have plenty of time on my hands and not a lot to occupy that time. Consequently, I found myself perusing the recently declassified and released transcriptions of interviews by the House Intelligence Committee regarding the now-discredited claim of collusion between the campaign of President Donald Trump and the much hated (by some) government of the Russian Federation. Originally established in 1975, the initial role of the House Select Committee on Intelligence was to investigate illegal activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency. Called the Pike Committee after Chairman Otis Pike of New York, the committee’s report was kept secret by Congress and has never been publically released. The committee was permanently established in 1977 and the word “Permanent” was added to the title. Its role was to provide Congressional oversight of the various intelligence agencies, specifically the CIA, FBI and NSA. It is NOT to conduct criminal investigations or even intelligence investigations, roles that are reserved for the Executive Branch through the Department of Justice and the various intelligence agencies. Yet that is exactly what the Democrats on the committee attempted to do as evidenced by the recently released transcripts of the interviews of numerous non-intelligence individuals who appeared before the committee in 2017 and 2018. It is undoubtedly due to the revelations in those transcripts that current committee chairman Adam Schiff refused to make the transcripts public after he took over the role, even though the committee had voted to make them public.
I haven’t read all of the transcripts and probably won’t read them all because, frankly, many of them are flat-out boring. This is particularly true of members of the White House staff who had been directed not to answer questions related to the transition or their service in the White House. The only questions they were authorized to answer were those pertaining to the campaign, which is what the “Russia investigation” was supposed to be about. Certain committee members, particularly Schiff and his fellow Californian, Eric Sawell, had their own agenda. Their goal was to uncover ANYTHING, just ANYTHING, that might incriminate Donald Trump and/or members of his family in some way. Their questioning was more appropriate to FBI investigations. They weren’t interested in the FBI and other intelligence agencies conduct; they were only interested in uncovering some kind of dirt on Donald Trump. It sometimes appeared that certain Republic representatives, specifically Congressmen James Conaway of Texas and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, had the same agenda. Apparently, they were suspicious of Mr. Trump. This was particularly true in the interrogation of Carter Page, a former US Navy intelligence officer with a doctorate in foreign affairs who spent several years in Russia – and WHO WORKED FOR THE CIA, a fact FBI lawyers concealed, and which is not addressed during his interview.
Just how the House and Senate intelligence committees got involved in the Russia investigation is unclear, but it was apparently due to the report put out by the “Intelligence Community” alleging that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election. https://tennesseeflyboy.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/the-russian-intelligence-farce/ The “Intelligence Community” released their report in January 2017, a few days before newly elected President Donald Trump was to be inaugurated and the House and Senate intelligence committees held public hearings shortly after the inauguration.
I was dismayed by the treatment of Carter Page, who was revealed by the DOJ IG Report to have been subjected to surveillance on the basis of improper actions by FBI agents and officials. Page, who was never indicted, and George Papadopoulos, a young scholar and energy and foreign policy expert, as is Page, literally had their lives ruined by the FBI, in Page’s case through illegal leaks made to Washington Post reporter David Ignatius, and in Papadopoulos’ case by unwarranted aggressive FBI techniques designed to force him to confess to a spurious charge of lying to the FBI (the same tactic recently revealed to have been used against former Director of Defense Intelligence and veteran US Army intelligence officer Lt. General Mike Flynn.) Papadopoulos did not appear before the committee but I have read his book (see the above link) – he was coerced into pleading guilty to lying to the FBI because he had told agents in his initial interview that his contact with a controversial Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud was prior to his joining the Trump campaign as a foreign policy advisor when it was actually right after. Knowing there was no evidence that the young Chicagoan had conspired with Russians, the FBI charged him with the catch-all charge of Lying to the FBI because he was confused about the date of the contact. Page was eager to testify because he had been mistreated by the FBI but all the committee was interested in was getting him to confess to improper dealings with the Russians during a couple of trips he had made to Moscow to give speeches at Russian universities. Conaway and Gowdy gave their time to the Democrats to interrogate and made no effort to listen to Page’s complaints. Their conduct is despicable, and Congressman Matt Gaetz was right to criticize Gowdy for his lack of aggression.
One of the most ridiculous interviews was that of Evelyn Farkas, a former House and White House staffer who went on MSNBC and made claims about how “we” had information that Donald Trump had conspired with “the Russians.” Now, Farkas is the daughter of Hungarian immigrants who fled Hungary in the 1950s and has exhibited strong anti-Russian bias. It turns out that Farkas did not know a damn thing. She was blowing smoke and knew she was blowing smoke, but she more or less stated that the Obama Administration had information about Trump’s improper dealings with Russia when, in fact, she had left government in 2015, before Donald Trump became a candidate. She admitted under questioning that she knew nothing.
In many instances, whole blocks of testimony were marked off in red, apparently because they were embarrassing to Schiff. This was particularly true of testimony given by Obama officials, including lawyer Sally Yates, who was temporary attorney general until she was fired for failing to support Donald Trump’s executive order regarding immigration and visas to residents of certain Muslim nations, an order that was found to be lawful by the Supreme Court. Blocks of other officials’ testimony was marked out. Still, there was enough information revealed that it is more than obvious that none of the intelligence agencies had evidence of “Russian collusion” in spite of Adam Schiff’s claims that he had evidence that there was.
Schiff comes across as someone who is obsessed with the belief that Donald Trump is guilty of SOMETHING, just ANYTHING. This was obvious during the impeachment fiasco and the transcripts of the interviews confirm his obsession. Schiff has an association with Bill and Hillary Clinton going back to his 2000 campaign for the House in which he defeated Republican James Rogan, who had been one of the lead prosecutors in the Clinton impeachment trial. In retaliation, Clinton cronies poured money into Schiff’s campaign, making the race the most costly in history to that time. Schiff’s questioning had nothing whatsoever to do with the Russian collusion claim and the various intelligence agencies conduct, but was aimed at trying to get the various witnesses to give some kind of tidbit to prove his theories of Trump criminal activity. When the FBI agent to whom British retired intelligence officer Christopher Steele reported testified, Schiff’s questions pertained to an FBI investigation of Russian gamblers who lived in Trump Towers. Even though the agent testified that there was no evidence connecting any of the Trump family to the two Russians, Schiff persisted in questioning about the investigation, which had no relevance to the Steele dossier that was the reason the agent had been compelled to testify.
The funniest interviews were those of Blackwater founder Erik Prince and Steve Bannon. Schiff has since claimed, without evidence, that Prince lied because he did not give him what he wanted. As for Bannon, he refused to answer any question that did not pertain to the campaign, on instruction from White House lawyers because information about the transition and the Trump Administration are privileged and fall under executive privilege. Members of the committee, including Gowdy and other Republicans, threatened to charge Bannon with contempt of Congress but no such charges were ever made. Hope Hicks and other White House staff members also refused to answer questions not pertaining to the campaign.
All in all, the hearings were a circus. Nothing of substance is revealed in any of the interviews other than that no one had any evidence of conspiracy, collusion, or any other kind of conversation between the Trump campaign and the Russian Federation. WHAT A FARCE!
 A draft of the report was leaked by someone on the committee or staff and parts have been published by leftwing newspapers.
 Some leftwing web sites claim it was the White House that prevented their release but this is untrue, as evidenced by the content, which is embarrassing to Schiff and other Democrats on the committee.
 While the CIA and FBI claimed high confidence in the belief that Russia had interfered in the election, the NSA, the organization that actually monitors communications, was less confident.