In a move akin to when a superhero arrives in a crime-plagued comic book metropolis to right the all-pervasive wrongs, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the newly appointed chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has announced his dedication to fixing the fiasco that was the committee’s investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion while it was under Republican control.
In an interview on the Hill.TV program The Rising, Representative Schiff revealed his opinion that two key witnesses who appeared before the committee while it was under GOP control, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and former chief strategist Steve Bannon, invoked “bogus privileges” to evade some of the questions asked by legislators about their actions during the campaign.
Congressman Schiff wants to call back a number of witnesses to testify in front of the committee without the constraints imposed by his Republican colleagues, including the president’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
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“There were any number of witnesses, and he was one of them, who would simply refuse to answer questions they didn’t want to answer because they felt it might incriminate them or might incriminate others or they simply had their own reasons they wouldn’t share with the committee,” Schiff said. “Sometimes they claimed bogus privileges, in the case of Jared Kushner or Don Jr. or Steve Bannon there were claims of attorney client privilege or the White House asked me not to.”
With the chairman’s gavel in his own hands now, Schiff wants to try to pry more out of Kushner in a new appearance before the Intelligence Committee, and his citation of the use of “bogus privileges” to defy the committee’s questioning indicates that he’s willing to fight to get full and truthful responses to the questions he wants to be answered.
“He did come and testify before the committee. There were a number of questions he was not willing to answer,” Schiff explained.
In addition to calling witnesses back for a second round of testimony, Rep. Schiff plans on providing complete transcripts of the sworn testimony of all of the witnesses who have appeared in front of the committee to Special Counsel Robert Mueller to compare the answers they gave in each set of queries to determine “whether witnesses have been truthful before Congress.”
With an administration based upon a foundation of lies, Rep. Schiff shouldn’t be surprised to discover that one or more witnesses will prove to have been less than honest in their answers to congressional questioning, particularly when their testimony preceded subsequent revelations in the plea deals of Trump campaign aides who have already admitted guilt and provided details of their actions and who was aware of them.
Rep. Schiff’s ascension to the Intelligence Committee chairmanship will give hope to the public that Republicans can no longer use their lost power over the rules of the hearings being held to continue to obstruct the effort to get to the truth behind the Trump campaign’s Russian interactions and the treasonous behavior it most likely entailed.
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Original reporting by Tess Bonn at The Hill.