Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke following the decision by the Committee’s Majority to shut down its investigation, release its partisan report out of Committee and send it to the Intelligence Community for a declassification review.
Schiff announced that Democrats will submit their Minority Views to the report on Monday, and that Democrats voted against the release of this deeply flawed report. Democrats also opposed conducting the Committee meeting in closed session and requested that the transcripts of the hearing be made public; these efforts were rebuffed by the Majority.
Democrats prepared a series of motions for today’s business meeting, including:
- Referral to the House of a contempt citation for Steve Bannon;
- Issuance of Committee subpoenas to: Hope Hicks, Donald Trump Jr., Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Erik Prince, George Nader, Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, Corey Lewandowski, Roger Stone, Keith Schiller, Randy Credico, among others;
- Issuance of Committee subpoenas for third-party documents, including to ensure complete production from the Trump organization, the Trump Campaign, and the Trump Transition, Twitter, and Deutsche Bank, among others;
- Holding an open hearing with CEOs from technology companies, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg;
- Engaging with the Special Counsel, in order to arrange testimony from George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Rick Gates; and\
- Expressing the Committee’s support for the Special Counsel and urging that his work go on without interference.
All of the Democratic motions were rejected on a party-line vote. Following the hearing, Rep. Schiff help a press availability – the transcript can be found here:
“The Minority urged the Majority first to conduct the meeting in open session so that you would have the opportunity to review the transcripts of our meeting and the debate that took place around the report. That request was rejected. We had a series of motions that we wished to offer including holding Steve Bannon in contempt, something that was made necessary by Steve Bannon’s refusal to answer broad categories of questions, indeed his only commitment was to answer twenty-five or twenty-four questions that were helpfully written out for him by the White House. That is no way to conduct an investigation.
“We had motions to hold Mr. Bannon in contempt, as well as about a dozen motions to require subpoenas for those who refused to answer questions – either because they had made claims of illusory privilege or they simply made no claim but refused to answer our questions nonetheless. We also moved to issue subpoenas for a wide set of documents. We will continue to press the majority to make all votes on those issues public as well as the discussion and debate that occurred around them, suffice it to say the Majority was not interested in conducting any further investigation even when the flaws in what they have done so far have become so apparent in the last week.
“But our work will go on nonetheless. We will be submitting Minority Views. We will also be conducting additional interviews and obtaining additional documents, indeed that work has never stopped. Witnesses have decided to continue cooperating with our committee, even if the Majority will not be participating.
“It is a rather sad chapter in our Committee’s long history, with the ending of the Majority’s participation in the investigation, that ending taking place in secret session for no reason at all except a desire to avoid the public scrutiny of this decision to curtail an investigation into one of the most serious intrusions into our democracy in our history.”
Did the Committee vote to release the Republican report, declassify the Republican report, today?
“I will let the Majority discuss with you what they decided to do, all I can tell you is that all the Minority motions were rejected.”
Republicans said they held out the opportunity to Democrats to edit, revise, contribute to their report – was that considered and if not, why?
“We had approached the Majority well before the issuance of this report to urge them to work with us on a joint report. There was really no interest on their end in doing so, and when it became clear even on things where there should have been overwhelming agreement, such as the Intelligence Community’s conclusion that Russia sought to sow discord, to harm Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump, the Majority made clear that they were going to take issue even with those fundamental conclusions, at least as they pertained to Donald Trump. It was clear that their report was going to be completely political from beginning to end and there really wasn’t much to work on in a joint fashion.
“The other problem that we had since the drafting of their report 10 days ago, or their provision of it to us, it has been a moving target they have altered key findings in the report even in the past week . It shows the fundamental unseriousness of their endeavor that some of the most important conclusions of the Intelligence Community, and their own work product would change in a matter of days even after they were supposed to have completed the investigation. It was a fundamentally unserious effort, when you have the opportunity to see their report, you will see just how unserious it is, and of course we intend to hold them to their commitment to releasing all the witness transcripts now that they have said the investigation is over.”
For more information on the Minority’s continuing investigation, please see the status update released last week.