Recent reports have called attention to U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) for suppressing dozens of declassified transcripts from the House Trump-Russia investigation.
In response, Schiff now faces mounting pressure to follow through on a bipartisan committee vote to release the documents. The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., joined the growing chorus of critics on Sunday, suggesting that Schiff “is desperately trying to hide” the transcripts to protect federal investigators and officials from the Obama administration.
‘Who do you think he’s trying to protect?’
“Who do you think he’s trying to protect?” he wrote on Twitter Sunday. “Me or Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Sally Yates and Andy McCabe?”
Adam Schiff is desperately trying to hide these transcripts (including mine) from the American people. Who do you think he’s trying to protect? Me or Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Sally Yates and Andy McCabe?
Schiff’s Secret Transcripts – WSJ https://t.co/wSmVkhLKWx
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 26, 2020
As The Washington Examiner noted, Trump Jr.’s tweet linked to a Wall Street Journal editorial that built on previous Examiner reports citing anonymous sources who claim Schiff had shielded at least 43 witness interview transcripts already cleared for release while attempting to block the declassification process for another ten.
Schiff faces new questions
“Schiff isn’t explaining his new opposition to transparency, though it seems likely he wants to shield promoters of the collusion theory from scrutiny,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote.
“Among the transcripts he’s blocking are interviews with former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power,” they continued.
Those officials, the editorial alleges, used their authority “to ‘unmask’ the names of Trump campaign officials who talked with foreigners who were wiretapped by U.S. intelligence.”
The board added that “another blocked interview is with former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates — who in early 2017 used a wild reading of the Logan Act that helped lead to the ouster of President Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.”
In addition to Donald Trump Jr., the editorial listed transcripts of interviews with the president’s “son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski, Sam Clovis and Steve Bannon” among the list of documents being suppressed.
“Is he worried that the transcripts will highlight how little substance there was to his collusion claims?” the board asked about Schiff. “The interviews would also allow the public to compare the early testimony of former FBI and intelligence officials (James Clapper, Andrew McCabe) against what we now know really happened.”
The president weighs in
The elder Trump joined his son in addressing the matter via social media, responding to a prior tweet from U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asking why Schiff would refuse to release the interviews.
“Because Shifty is a crooked politician!” the president wrote.
Because Shifty is a crooked politician! https://t.co/bYkaJmy4Yj
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2020
Without any meaningful response from Schiff’s camp, it continues to look more like U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a ranking member of the intelligence committee, was correct when the told the Examiner that there is “no reason for keeping these documents secret except that they want to hide what’s in them.”