Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who for years has maintained he has knowledge of evidence of President Trump’s “collusion” with Russia yet has not let anyone see that evidence, now is moving to insert himself in the president’s effort to offer full transparency on that “collusion” investigation.
He wrote letters to the intelligence chiefs, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI chief Christopher Wray, NSA Director Paul Nakasone and Gina Haspel, chief of the CIA, demanding that he be allowed to impose “vigorous oversight” of the plans being developed by Attorney General William Barr and the president to make public a lot of documents.
Those would be the papers on which the Barack Obama administration launched the “collusion” investigation and spied on Trump’s 2016 political campaign.
Barr asked Trump for authority to declassify intelligence documents in pursuit of government transparency, and Trump approved that idea. Those documents possibly could reveal who opted to use a political opposition research document funded by Hillary Clinton as evidence in a secret court strategy that targeted the Trump campaign.
Or who knew about such activities.
That is not making Schiff happy.
In his letters, he tells the intelligence chiefs that the plan to make documents public “necessitates vigorous oversight by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.”
Schiff puts forth the claim that the effort to release information is “a disturbing effort by the president and the attorney general to politicize the intelligence community and law enforcement.”
He frets there could be “inappropriate and misleading disclosures of classified information and IC sources and methods for political ends.”
He claims the recent report from FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, which found no collusion on the part of Trump’s campaign, and specifically did not allege any obstruction charges against the president, already has established “that the counterintelligence investigation was properly initiated based on credible information from an intelligence partner.”
He doesn’t identify the “intelligence partner” in the letter.
And he complains that Barr “has called into question” the validity of the origins of the investigation.
Barr, in fact, told Congress he is convinced the Obama administration did use federal law enforcement agencies to do “spying” on the Trump political campaign. He said what needs to be investigated is why that happened.
And there are multiple investigations into how that investigation actually was begun under Obama’s watch.
Schiff says he is concerned that the president has given Barr authority to declassify information about those issues, and Barr has permission to consult others.
“This approach threatens national security by subverting longstanding rules and practices that obligate you and others heads of IC agencies to safeguard sources and methods and prevent the politicization of intelligence and law enforcement,” he warned.
Schiff, who has used the Russia investigation now for more than two years repeatedly to attack and undermine President Trump politically, said the proposal by the president and Barr is an effort “to politicize the IC and law enforcement” and “delegitimize” the investigation.
He charges the president with “misconduct” but doesn’t elaborate.
The solution, he said, is that his committee would “serve as a check on this abuse of power to ensure that the IC can fulfill its lawful mission and law enforcement can conduct appropriately predicated investigations of powerful government officials without fear of retribution.”
He then demands an “in-person” briefing to explain what the president and Barr have requested, that he be given “all documents … regardless of form or classification” that are reviewed by the attorney general, notification before anything is declassified, and more.
For support for his concerns, Schiff cites reports including those from the extreme-left and aggressively anti-Trump operations at CNN.
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