Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas., asks questions to former special counsel Robert Mueller, as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi have released most of the transcripts from the first round of witness interviews, 15 to be exact, however there is one they refuse to let go of. That would be the transcript from Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson’s October 4 closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
Investigative journalist Paul Sperry asked about this in a tweet and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) replied.
I know why @paulsperry_ It’s because I asked IG Atkinson about his “investigation” into the contacts between Schiff’s staff and the person who later became the whistleblower. The transcript is classified “secret” so Schiff can prevent you from seeing the answers to my questions
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) November 30, 2019
On December 9th, while most of us were getting our first look at the IG report, Ratcliffe tried forcefully to persuade the Democrats to release the transcript during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. The Congressman gave us a pretty good idea about why Schiff was holding it back.
Ratcliffe first directed his remarks to Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman (remember him?). He asked Goldman if he’d been present for Atkinson’s testimony. He answered, yes.”
…On pages 53-73, the Inspector General’s testimony confirms the following: That the whistleblower made statements to the Inspector General under the penalty of perjury that were not true and correct. That the whistleblower first made statements in writing under the penalty of perjury that were not true and correct. The whistleblower then made statements under the penalty of perjury that were not true and correct in his or her verbal responses to the Inspector General’s investigative team. Because of the whistleblower’s statements in writing and verbally, that were neither true, correct or accurate, pages 53 to 73 of that testimony reveal that the IG was not able to answer any questions. None, from me, about the whistleblower’s contact or communication with Mr. Schiff’s staff of which Mr. Goldman is a member.
Then Ratcliffe addressed Democratic counsel Stephen Goldman.
After the IG testified on October 4th and after media reports revealed that the whistleblower and Mr. Schiff did not disclose their prior contacts or communications with each other, the whistleblower contacted the IG to explain why he or she made statements under penalty of perjury in writing or verbally that were true, correct and accurate…
He establishes that none of the changes made by the whistleblower due to inconsistencies about his prior contact with Schiff were included in the report.
On October 2, Patrick Boland, Mr. Schiff’s spokesman, acknowledged publicly that the outlines of the whistleblower’s accusations against the President had been disclosed to the House Intelligence staff and shared with Chairman Schiff.
Again, Ratcliffe establishes that information was excluded from the report. He requests the release of the IG’s testimony or at least pages 53 to 73. He says there is nothing in those pages that expose the whistleblower’s identity.
Look, maybe there’s a good reason why the whistleblower made statements that weren’t true about his or her contact with Schiff in writing…Maybe there’s a reason why Chairman Schiff was not truthful about his staff’s previous contact with the whistleblower…
Additionally, several weeks ago, we learned that the day after the July 25th conversation between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Schiff hired Sean Misko, a close friend and former colleague of the whistleblower, who is alleged to be Eric Ciaramella, as an aide. Misko and Ciaramella worked together on the National Security Council and are said to have a “bro-like” relationship.
Obviously, Schiff will hold onto Atkinson’s transcript, but fortunately, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Judicial Watch founder Tom Fitton announced today his organization has filed FOIA lawsuits against the CIA and the DOJ to obtain Eric Ciaramella’s communications. Ciaramella “worked on Ukraine issues while on detail to both the Obama and Trump White Houses.”
Fitton explained they had filed the lawsuits because neither the DOJ, nor the CIA had responded to the FOIA requests they had sent in November. Here is the link for the full Judicial Watch report.