If Donald Trump or Devin Nunes were doing this, it would be considered obstruction or intimidation.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has sent a letter to the heads of various U.S. intelligence agencies demanding they turn over materials that are being sent to the Department of Justice as it reviews the origins of the FBI investigation in Trump’s 2016 campaign. Schiff sent the letter to Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone, according to CNN.
Schiff called Trump’s May 23, 2019 directive to the agencies ordering them to assist in the review, “a disturbing effort by the President and the Attorney General to politicize the Intelligence Community and law enforcement, and raises grave concerns about inappropriate and misleading disclosures of classified information and IC sources and methods for political ends."
That’s a rich accusation coming from Schiff, who acted as a sieve for confidential information during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
Schiff worries in his letter that the investigation and directive, which may declassify information relating to how the investigation in Trump’s campaign began, “threatens national security by subverting longstanding rules and practices that obligate you and other heads of IC agencies to safeguard sources and methods and prevent the politicization of intelligence and law enforcement.”
He called the move “unnecessary,” and claimed Barr’s review didn’t require such declassification of IC methods.
The problem here is that the IC community and law enforcement were politicized by the Obama administration, which used them to spy on the Trump campaign. It was Hillary Clinton’s campaign that paid for the dossier from ex-British Intelligence officer Christopher Steele (then working as an opposition researcher) that was included as evidence to obtain warrants against Trump campaign officials. Barr is trying to reveal that politicization.
It’s telling that Schiff does not want this information revealed.
Schiff also said in his letter that his committee would “conduct rigorous, ongoing oversight” of the intelligence agencies “and others in the IC to ensure that the Attorney General does not abuse his new and sweeping authority.” Schiff, of course, attempted at every turn to stop former House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) from doing the same of Mueller’s investigation.
If anyone is at risk for revealing classified information, it’s Schiff. The California congressman is known for leaving behind-closed-door meetings with congressional witnesses to leak information from those meetings to CNN. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said Schiff left during Donald Trump, Jr’s testimony often. Shortly after, CNN would have a “scoop” on what was being said in the meeting.
Donny Ferguson, who worked for former congressman Steve Stockman, said Schiff did the same thing during closed-door Benghazi hearings.
Schiff is now demanding an “in-person briefing” from the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies to explain what has been requested of them during the DOJ investigation and to provide his committee with all the materials that have been requested or delivered as part of the review. He also demanded they inform his committee of any impending declassification requested by the DOJ.