House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) laid out why he suspects Trump or top-level officials will not provide the DNI whistleblower to Congress.
Video of Rep. Schiff on CBS’s Face The Nation:
Transcript via Face The Nation:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Just ignoring the subpoena?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: Well, at this point, yes. Ignoring the subpoena, ignoring our request. No DNI– no director of National Intelligence has ever refused to turn over a whistleblower complaint. And here, Margaret, the significance is the inspector general found this complaint to be urgent, found it to be credible, that is they did some preliminary investigation, found the whistleblower to be credible, that suggests corroboration. And that it involved serious or flagrant wrongdoing. And according to the director of National Intelligence, the reason he is not acting to provide it even though the statute mandates that he do so is because he is being instructed not to. That this involved a higher authority, someone above the DNI. Well, there are only a few people–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: –above the DNI. So we are concerned this area– this involves wrongdoing that’s under investigation by our committee and we are going to do everything necessary to make sure that whistleblowers– not allowed to provide the complaint to us but can come directly to Congress, which the director is also prohibiting at this point.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you don’t know, but you suspect the President has some role or the executive branch here? Can you– can you tell us what the subject was of the whistleblower complaint?
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: I can’t go into the contents but I can tell you that at least according to the director of National Intelligence, this involves an issue of privileged communications. Now, that means it’s a pretty narrow group of people that it could apply to that are both above the DNI in authority and also involve privileged communications. So, I think it’s fair to assume this involves either the President or people around him or both. But at the end of the day, if the–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: –director of National Intelligence is going to undermine the whistleblower protections, it means that people are going to end up taking the law into their own hands and going directly to the press instead of the mechanism that Congress set to protect classified information.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF: And that gravely threatens both our national security as well as a system that encourages people to expose wrongdoing.
In Rep. Schiff’s initial letter, he suspected that the whistleblower was being hidden due to wrongdoing by Trump or high-level members of the administration. Chairman Schiff provided more detail on Sunday in that this isn’t administration officials, but Trump and the people directly around him.
A little reading between the lines reveals that the president was trying to do something illegal to meddle with the intelligence community. It is likely very illegal, and a major scandal waiting to happen. If it is wasn’t, the White House would have already attempted to discredit the witness and scream fake news.
Keep an eye on this space, as it seems that there is another shoe getting ready to drop.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association