News and Commentary

Republicans Say They Can’t View Impeachment Documents Without A Democrat Staffer Present
U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to members of the media outside a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees at the U.S. Capitol in response to what Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had said during a White House news briefing today October 17, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee say they have been barred from viewing classified documents relating to Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump unless a Democratic staffer is present.

The 21 Republican members sent a letter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Tuesday protesting the rule imposed on them by the California Democrat, who is leading the impeachment proceedings as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee:

To date, your Ukraine ‘joint investigation’ has operated almost exclusively within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,” the group, led by Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, wrote. “So I was shocked to be informed yesterday that you will not be providing deposition and interview transcripts from this supposed ‘joint inquiry’ to the Foreign Affairs Committee. Your staff claims that the only way we will have access to the transcripts is in your offices, during designated hours, under the personal supervision and monitoring of a majority staffer.

The Republicans wrote that it is “outrageous and unjustifiable to deny us those basic documents, which are critical to our ability to meaningfully prepare for and participate in this investigation.” The members wrote that they required “the same access to the same documents in the same format, as is enjoyed by you and your staff.”

The members added that the Foreign Affairs Committee has “a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), a classified computer system, and a full-time non-partisan Security Officer.”

“There is no legitimate reason to deny us the transcripts,” the Republicans continued.

In closing, the Republican members threatened “to pursue public efforts to correct it, including by seeking a privileged vote on the House Floor.”

McCaul and two other Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee — Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) — wrote a second letter to Schiff on Wednesday, asking why he has decided not to call a whistleblower in for questioning despite previous assertions to do so.

“We are surprised by your announcement that the Committees will not receive testimony from the anonymous intelligence community employee whose complaint initiated the so-called impeachment inquiry,” the congressmen wrote in the second letter, obtained by The Daily Wire. “You had earlier committed that the employee would provide ‘unfiltered’ testimony ‘very soon,’ only to reverse course following revelations that the employee had a bias against President Donald Trump and that you had received a secret, early account of the allegations.”

The Republicans wrote that it is important to question the whistleblower who filed a complaint alleging President Donald Trump abused his power as president by demanding Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky investigate one of his 2020 rivals. As the Republicans pointed out in their letter, multiple assertions by the whistleblower regarding Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky turned out to be false.

For example, the whistleblower’s claims that Trump “sought to pressure” Zelensky “to take actions to help the President’s 2020 bid” were denied by Zelensky and negated by a transcript of the phone call released by Trump. The transcript shows no pressure or threats, but he did bring up former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealing with Ukraine. Zelensky repeatedly said he felt no pressure and although Democrats have claimed Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine over the investigation, Ukraine officials said they had no idea aid was being withheld until at least a month after the phone call.

H/t Washington Free Beacon