House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., questions Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire,as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In September 2018, the House Intelligence Committee, then chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), voted to release the transcripts of 53 witness interviews conducted during their committee’s investigation into allegations that President Trump had colluded with the Russian government to win the presidency.
The transcripts include testimony from Trump campaign and administration officials and associates such as Stephen Bannon, Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Roger Stone, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, in addition to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates.
At the time, Nunes told Fox News, “They need to be published, I think, before the election. Published, I mean being put out for the American people to review, so that they can see the work that we did and they can see all of the people that were interviewed by us and their answers to those questions.”
The transcripts were sent to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for a classification review. Over a year and a half later, they have not been released to the public. What happened?
According to Just the News’ John Solomon, who has obtained several interviews and memos, the reason for this “lies in the backroom dealings of [Rep.] Adam Schiff [D-CA],” the current Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
On March 26, 2019, Schiff wrote to then DNI Dan Coates who, although a Republican, was not a fan of President Trump, referencing a briefing from DNI personnel six days earlier on March 20. Schiff’s letter, which can be viewed here, “specifically ordered that the witness transcripts — some of which contained exculpatory evidence for President Trump’s team — not be shared with Trump or White House lawyers even if the declassification process required such sharing.” Schiff wrote:
Under no circumstances shall ODNI, or any other element of the Intelligence Community (IC), share any HPSCI transcripts with the White House, President Trump or any persons associated with the White House or the President.
Such transcripts remain the sole property of HPSCI, and were transmitted to ODNI for the limited purpose of enabling a classification review by IC elements and the Department of Justice.
U.S. intelligence officials told Solomon that “Schiff’s request made it impossible for them to declassify ten of the transcripts, mostly of current and former White House and National Security Council witnesses, because White House lawyers would have had to review them for what is known as “White House equities” and “presidential privileges.”
They also said the other 43 transcripts had been declassified, cleared for public release and turned over to Schiff “some time ago.” The other “ten remain in limbo.” Solomon asked his source when Schiff received the transcripts and was told, “You’ll have to ask Mr. Schiff.”
Schiff, unsurprisingly, never notified any of the Republicans on the committee that the ODNI had completed its review.
What else was happening at the time of Schiff’s letter to the DNI? Special Counsel Robert Mueller was releasing his final report which found insufficient evidence that Trump had colluded with the Russians to recommend further action.
Solomon explains that when Schiff learned during the March 20 briefing “about how ODNI planned to handle the declassification, including the need for White House lawyers to review certain transcripts for information that could be covered by executive privilege, it set off the alarm bells for Schiff’s team.”
Oh Adam, where are the transcripts? They are likely sealed away along with the transcript of fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, the only transcript from the House impeachment inquiry that Schiff has refused to release.
For over three years, Schiff has managed to stay one step ahead of investigators. I once wrote that “in the age of technology, it’s almost impossible to get away with a crime. There are 100 ways to get caught and even if you think of 98 of them, still that remaining one or two will trip you up.” Smart as he is, there will be something that Schiff either has not thought of (maybe) or cannot control (more likely), that will trip him up. Somewhere in the paper trail will be found the incontrovertible evidence of a crime.
The repellent Adam Schiff, and his partner in crime, Nancy Pelosi, have done more to undermine the Trump Administration than any foreign power ever could. They both belong in jail.