Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesComey’s confession: dossier not verified before, or after, FISA warrant GOP struggles to find right Republican for Rules FBI email chain may provide most damning evidence of FISA abuses yet 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 GowdyThe Year Ahead: Pressure mounts on election security as 2020 approaches House GOP set to grill Comey GOP, Dems locked in fight over North Carolina fraud probe 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 CoatsDems slam Trump for siding with Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi killing Dem senator demands public intelligence assessment on Khashoggi killing Hillicon Valley: Official warns midterm influence could trigger sanctions | UK, Canada call on Zuckerberg to testify | Google exec resigns after harassment allegations | Gab CEO defends platform | T-Mobile, Sprint tailor merger pitch for Trump 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.