Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, accused the National Security Agency of withholding “potentially relevant documents” from Congress regarding Ukraine at a time when the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump is set to begin in the Senate.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was asked about a Politico report that said intelligence agency officials were not eager to appear before his committee in a public forum to avoid disagreeing with President Donald Trump. “The intelligence community is reluctant to have an open hearing, something that we had done every year prior to the Trump administration, because they’re worried about angering the president,” Schiff said.
After essentially confirming the Politico report, Schiff went further. “I’ll say something even more concerning to me, and that is the intelligence community is beginning to withhold documents from Congress on the issue of Ukraine,” he said. “They appear to be succumbing to pressure from the administration. The NSA in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial.”
Schiff went on to characterize that dynamic as “deeply concerning” and added that “the CIA may be on the same tragic course.” The Democratic lawmaker said members of the intelligence community don’t just have to “speak truth to power” but also “resist pressure from the administration to withhold information from Congress because the administration fears that they incriminate them.” Democrats had previously said the State Department and the Pentagon were withholding relevant documents regarding Ukraine.
When asked to comment, Amanda Schoch, assistant director of national intelligence for strategic communications, told NBC News in a statement: “The Intelligence Community is committed to providing Congress with the information and intelligence it needs to carry out its critical oversight role.”
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