Schiff is the current ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee which means that in January he will replace Devin Nunes as chairman of the powerful committee. On Sunday Schiff complained that the new acting attorney general at the Justice Department is not being transparent, and he has a big problem with that.
“The fact of the matter is that Whitaker is not telegraphing what he’s doing,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He’s not telling us or anyone, at least in Congress.”
Host Dana Bash then asked Schiff, “Have you actually seen him (Whitaker) take any concrete steps to impede the Mueller investigation?”
And Schiff replied: “We simply don’t know, but I’ll tell you this Dana, we’re going to find out”
CNN’s Dana Bash: “Have you actually seen him (acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker) take any concrete steps to impede” the Mueller investigation?
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 25, 2018
Schiff’s comments demonstrate that Democrats in Congress have some very serious concerns about the acting attorney general who was appointed by Trump to replace fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Whitaker has made very clear through a series of public statements that he wants to shut down the special counsel’s investigation, which he believes is illegitimate.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller of course has been looking into Russian election interference in 2016 as well as alleged collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government.
What’s troubling, Schiff said, is that Whitaker has not communicated any of his plans to members of Congress such as himself, who have a right to know what he plans to do.
“I don’t know what steps he has taken, whether he is merely getting briefed now and deliberating on whether he will allow Mueller to subpoena the president or whether he will allow Mueller to look into this issue or giving Mueller a time when he needs to wrap up his investigation,” Schiff lamented. “We certainly don’t know. I’ll tell you this, Dana, we’re going to find out.”
Schiff also indicated that he would be bringing Whitaker in to testify before his committee after he becomes chairman next year.
“We are going to bring Whitaker before the Congress, assuming he’s still in his position at the time when Democrats take over,” he said. “We may bring him in whether he’s in that position or not, to find out the answers to these questions.”
Mueller told a court last week that Whitaker’s appointment has “no effect” on his ongoing investigation.