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Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesJuan Williams: Trump, the Great Destroyer The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — Latest on Hurricane Michael | Trump, Kanye West to have lunch at White House | GOP divided over potential 2020 high court vacancy Senate Dem: Trump's 'fake, hyperbolic rantings' an insult to real Medal of Honor recipients MORE (R-Calif.) said Sunday that the transcripts and documents for witnesses in the GOP-controlled panel's now-concluded Russia investigation need to be released before the midterm elections.

"We believe that the depositions that we took, I think nearly about 70 people, those need to be published and they need to be published I think before the election," Nunes said on Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo."

"I expect to make those available from our committee to the American public in the next few weeks," he added.

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Nunes's comments come days after his colleague, Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week House GOP sets deposition deadline for Fusion GPS co-founder MORE (R-S.C.) called for the documents' release on Wednesday, thought he remained silent on Gowdy's remarks at the time.

"There is something that has not been released that I think would be beneficial for the public to see — and that would be all of the transcripts from all of the [House Intelligence Committee] interviews,” Gowdy told The Hill on Wednesday. 

“There are no national security implications there,” he added. “There are no sources and methods there.”

The Republican lawmakers' calls echo House Intelligence Democrats who have repeatedly asked for the documents to be made public. GOP and Democratic lawmakers backed plans to release the transcripts before Republicans announced this spring that they would be wrapping up their investigation.

GOP lawmakers questioned whether making the interview transcripts public could impact their ability to compel witnesses to testify in future investigations.

“The majority has said they support making these transcripts public,” the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said in March. “We will put to the test of whether they really do.”

Nunes added Sunday that "70 or 80 percent" of the depositions are already unclassified documents. For the remaining classified interviews, Nunes said, he will reach out to Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: Intel chief wants tech, government to work more closely | Facebook doesn't believe foreign state behind hack | New net neutrality lawsuit | Reddit creates 'war room' to fight misinformation Hillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case MORE, which he expects to "take a matter of days."

Asked if he thought the president would declassify the relevant documents, Nunes said he thinks Trump "doesn't have any choice."

"I think he doesn't have any choice," Nunes said. "If the president wants the American people to really understand just how broad and invasive this investigation has been to many Americans and how unfair it has been, he has no choice but to declassify." 

In a statement to The Hill later Sunday, Schiff said that he hopes the committee's Republican will act on Nunes's remarks.

"Now, the Chairman is again promising to release the transcripts. We hope this time he will follow through on his commitment by scheduling a business meeting immediately and allowing a new vote to release all the transcripts," Schiff said. "A few will need classification review by the Intelligence Community, but most will not."

“The American people deserve to see what we uncovered, the questions witnesses refused to answer, the Majority’s unwillingness to demand a response, and the work the Majority left undone, even as the Minority continues the investigation," he added. "Public release of the transcripts will also facilitate the work of the Special Counsel, who will have access to the evidence contained in the testimony and may consider who may have committed perjury before Congress.”

— Updated on Sept. 17 at 12:35 p.m.