Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, demanded in a letter late on Friday night that Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) testify in a closed-door deposition about any interactions that either he or his staff may have had with the whistleblower.
“On November 6th, you announced the beginning of public hearings associated with the Democratic Party’s partisan impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump,” Nunes wrote to Schiff. “Based on the precedent and lack of jurisdiction, the House Intelligence Committee should not take the lead in conducting such hearings; however, by now the American people know your desire to see the duly-elected president removed from office outweighs your sense of responsibility to running a functioning intelligence oversight committee.”
“Prior to the start of your public show trial next week, at least one additional closed-door deposition must take place,” Nunes stated. “Specifically, I request that you sit for a closed-door deposition before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees.”
“As the American public is now aware, in August 2019, you and/or your staff met with or talked to the whistleblower who raised an issue with President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky,” Nunes continued. “Although you publicly claim nothing inappropriate was discussed, the three committees deserve to hear directly from you the substance and circumstances surrounding any discussions conducted with the whistleblower, and any commitment to let the committee’s interview the whistleblower directly, you are the only individual who can provide clarity as to these conversations.”
“As you know, the House Intelligence Committee has precedent for such an arrangement. During the committees investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, sitting members of Congress agreed to participate in closed-door depositions,” Nunes continued. “Given your championing of such an agreement two years ago, you should have no problem with you appearing before the three committees to discuss your interactions with the whistleblower.”
Nunes concluded, “This request is not intended to satisfy the rights of the minority to call witnesses for public testimony pursuant to section 2 of H. Res. 660. I appreciate your attention to this manner.”
The letter comes after Schiff stated during an appearance a September 17 on MSNBC, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
Schiff’s claim was false, according to numerous reports, which earned him a “Four Pinocchios” rating from Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler.
“The early account by the future whistle-blower … explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it,” The New York Times reported in early October. “Before going to Congress, the C.I.A. officer had a colleague convey his accusations to the agency’s top lawyer. Concerned about how that avenue for airing his allegations was unfolding, the officer then approached a House Intelligence Committee aide, alerting him to the accusation against Mr. Trump.”
“The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy,” the Times added. “By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained.”