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Adam Schiff: House May Be Compelled to Subpoena Director of National Intelligence Over Briefing Cancellations

Adam Schiff: House May Be Compelled to Subpoena Director of National Intelligence Over Briefing Cancellations

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) said Sunday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) could subpoena Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe or other intelligence officials to testify publicly following Ratcliffe’s abrupt decision to cease conngressional election security briefings.

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Ratcliffe on Friday canceled all future congressional election security briefings and will instead submit “intelligence products” in writing, as outlined in a letter he sent to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

The decision was made in order to “ensure clarity and consistency across the Office of National Intelligence’s engagements with Congress on elections,” Ratcliffe insisted to lawmakers.

“I believe this approach helps ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that the information ODNI provides the Congress in support of your oversight responsibilities on elections security, foreign malign influence, and election interference is not misunderstood nor politicized,” Ratcliffe wrote. “It will also better protect our sources and methods and most sensitive intelligence from additional unauthorized disclosures or misuse.”

Speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday’s State of the Union, Schiff said that if Ratcliffe refuses to keep Congress and the American people apprised of the danger Russia poses to our elections, flexing House subpoena power “is certainly one of the tools that we may use.”

“I can’t speak for what decision ultimately we’ll make,” Schiff said. “That’s a decision that will have to go to the Speaker.”

“This intelligence paid for by taxpayers doesn’t belong to Donald Trump, it doesn’t belong to the intelligence agencies, it belongs to the American people. The agencies are merely the custodians of that information,” Schiff continued. “And the American people ought to know what Russia is doing, they ought to know their President is unwilling to stand up to Vladimir Putin… that information belongs to the American people, it doesn’t belong to Donald Trump.”

Schiff also rebuked President Donald Trump’s assertion that Democrats have been leaking classified information – a claim the president has offered zero evidence to support.

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“I haven’t,” Schiff said. “My staff hasn’t. … Leaks are always improper and sometimes they’re illegal. But of course this is a falsehood, yet again, another lie by the President.”

Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee released its findings from its years-long investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign’s connections to Russia as well as its cooperation with the Kremlin’s plot to damage Democrat Hillary Clinton and hand Trump the presidency. The Senate’s investigation, led by Republicans, was vastly more revealing than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which, while damning, was highly politicized and heavily redacted by Attorney General William Barr.

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