On Friday the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, D-Calif., adamantly criticized the Trump administration for dangerously politicizing the Intelligence Community.
Schiff is requesting that the IC agencies provide more information about the president’s order which would allow them to declassify information related to the Russian probe.
Schiff has alleged that Trump’s policy threatened national security and he now wants the IC to provide all documents made available to Attorney General William Barr.
Schiff wants his committee, before any declassification, to provide an assessment on declassification’s harms to national security. He also wants an in-person briefing on what the administration had requested to that point.
According to Schiff, Trump endangered national security by granting Barr the authority to declassify information without consulting with the IC.
Schiff wrote, in a letter to Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, “President Trump’s May 23, 2019 directive to you and other heads of agencies to assist and produce information to Attorney General William P. Barr … represents a disturbing effort by the President and the Attorney General to politicize the Intelligence Community (“IC”) and law enforcement, and raises grave concerns about inappropriate and misleading disclosures of classified information and IC sources and methods for political ends.”
Schiff sent his letters to the directors of National Intelligence, Dan Coats; the FBI Director, Christopher Wray; CIA and National Security Agency, Director Gen. Paul Nakasone.
President Trump had imposed an order in an push to accelerate his Justice Department’s investigation into the Russia investigation’s origins.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to conclude the president’s 2016 campaign engaged in a conspiracy with Russia. This has brought up questions as to how the whole Russian probe began.
Schiff has suggested that the administration’s argument behind that investigation was a “conspiracy theory” and that it incorrectly mistrusted the validity of Mueller’s probe.
Schiff said, “The Special Counsel’s report definitively establishes that the counterintelligence investigation was properly initiated based on credible information from an intelligence partner. Yet the Attorney General has called into question, without evidence, the validity of the predication of what became the Special Counsel’s investigation.”
Schiff also said, “This approach 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.”
Former FBI Director James Comey, who led the Russia investigation during the 2016 presidential election, had basically expressed similar views when he said, “The FBI wasn’t out to get Donald Trump. It also wasn’t out to get Hillary Clinton. It was out to do its best to investigate serious matters while walking through a vicious political minefield.”
In an interview on Friday with CBS, Barr, he has vowed to get to the bottom of the investigation’s origins. He admitted that he faced difficulty in obtaining the answers he needed and said, “I assumed I’d get answers when I went in, and I have not gotten answers that are at all satisfactory.”
Republicans see the situation differently. They have demanded accountability after the release of Mueller’s report. The main concern here is the controversial Steele dossier’s role in initiating the investigation.
One key witness who is expected to refuse to cooperate with the review is former British spy Christopher Steele who is the author of the controversial “dossier” about alleged Trump interactions with Russia.
Congressional Democrats are continuing to press the administration for more answers surrounding Mueller’s investigation.
The roadblocks are in place as the president invoked executive privilege to avoid complying with subpoenas.
Now, some Democrats have taken their party’s efforts further and are calling for impeachment proceedings against the president. They don’t have enough support from their own party to impeach and Republicans, except for Justin Amash, R-Mich., don’t want impeachment.
In my humble opinion, the Steele dossier is the key factor here. The FISA warrant was issued because the dossier’s allegations helped justify the FISA warrant to wiretap former Trump adviser Carter Page.
The dossier now serves as an exhibit for the defense rather than the prosecution.
The show is about to begin. Stay tuned; the trailers are running in my head and I’m excited to see what happens next.