When the House Democrat-led impeachment of President Donald Trump ended with an acquittal in the Republican-led Senate, it was widely assumed that it was only a matter of time before Democrats returned to the drawing board and devised another plan toward the ever-present goal of seeing Trump removed from office.
Now, it appears that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), leader of the futile impeachment effort, has decided to resume his incessant assault on the Trump administration — this time, via increased oversight and compliance demands on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) regarding a number of personnel and other issues, The Hill reported.
Schiff signals new investigations
Schiff’s continuing crusade against President Trump and his administration was encapsulated in a letter the congressman sent on Tuesday to acting DNI Richard Grenell.
Primarily at issue for Schiff were various “organizational and personnel changes” Grenell has made so far as acting DNI “without consulting and seeking authorization from Congress.”
Schiff suggested such changes were being made under the cover of the coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to exert “political interference” on the normal course of intelligence production and dissemination.
Chairman Schiff’s letter first addressed the “reorganization of ODNI” under Grenell, which included reducing and shifting staff responsibilities, and complained that such moves had been made without first securing congressional approval.
Emphasizing Grenell’s status as acting DNI, Schiff warned that it was “inappropriate” for him to make such changes “during [his] temporary tenure,” and demanded that Grenell submit a “detailed written explanation” of any and all personnel adjustments no later than April 16.
Perhaps the impetus for Schiff’s letter, however, was the recent termination of Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who played an integral role in Schiff’s impeachment charade by forwarding to Congress the initial “whistleblower” complaint regarding President Trump’s now-infamous phone call with the Ukrainian president in July of 2019.
Schiff essentially accused Grenell and Trump of firing Atkinson as political retribution for the failed impeachment effort and demanded in writing by the same April 16 date an assurance from Grenell that no interference or retaliation against other inspectors general or intelligence community members would occur.
The chairman also accused Grenell of politicizing and interfering with the intelligence community’s work regarding election security, with the strong implication being that his actions had resulted in a loss of trust in the integrity of the upcoming 2020 elections — a continuation of the tired narrative of foreign election interference Schiff has been pushing since 2016.
This letter from Schiff to Grenell is nothing more than a vindictive power play that foreshadows a potential route Democrats may pursue in hopes taking another bite at the impeachment apple — if given the chance.
It remains to be seen whether Grenell will accede to Schiff’s demands for written explanations as well as for in-person testimony before the committee, or whether he will tell the chairman what he can go and do with his latest effort at investigatory harassment.