WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The House Intelligence Committee voted on Wednesday (Feb 6) to provide transcripts of testimony it took behind closed doors in its probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election to the special counsel for use in possible prosecutions, the panel's Democratic chairman said.
"The special counsel's office, the Department of Justice and its elements will now have access to those transcripts for any purpose which will facilitate justice," Representative Adam Schiff told reporters after the committee's first meeting, which was closed to the public.
Schiff said the panel would release transcripts of all interviews after Roger Stone, a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, was charged with lying to Congress last month.
Stone was arrested on Jan 25 for lying to Congress about the 2016 campaign's efforts to use stolen e-mails to undercut Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Schiff said Special Counsel Robert Mueller had access to the transcripts but a formal release was necessary for him to be able to use them in any prosecutorial proceedings.
Trump's longtime self-described "fixer," lawyer Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to charges including lying to Congress.
Schiff, who assumed the committee chairmanship after Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in November elections, also outlined lines of inquiry it intends to pursue on Russian election activities, possible Trump campaign ties and matters relating to Trump's business dealings.
"Congress has a duty to expose foreign interference, hold Russia to account, ensure that US officials - including the President - are serving the national interest and, if not, are held accountable," Schiff said in a statement.
The committee plans to make public all its Russia investigation transcripts once intelligence officials redact any classified information, Schiff said. He said he will push to fast-track the release, which he expects in May or June.