Schiff asks Trump’s spy chief to testify

Schiff asks Trump’s spy chief to testify

President Trump’s spy chief, who was flung into a firestorm at the start of the Ukraine controversy last year, has been invited to testify before the House Intelligence Committee next month.

Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is now the lead impeachment manager, sent letters to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and other intelligence agency leaders on Thursday to testify on Feb. 12 about global threats in an open and closed setting.

The U.S. Intelligence Community has signaled in negotiations with the House and Senate that its leaders want to forgo the public portion of the annual briefing that goes along with an assessment, concerned about invoking the ire of Trump, according to multiple reports. But congressional Democrats have demanded some of the testimony be in an open session.

“The hearing provides an opportunity for I.C. seniors to provide an unclassified yet important broad understanding of how threats have evolved and what the nation can expect in the year to come,” Schiff wrote in a letter to Maguire.

While the Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to send formal invitations, an ODNI spokesman said negotiations with both panels are ongoing.

“The Intelligence Community is committed to providing timely, accurate, and useful information about the worldwide threats facing the nation to Congress and the American people. We continue discussions with the committees about the timing and format of the Worldwide Threat Assessment hearings this year,” the ODNI spokesman told the Washington Examiner.

A representative for Schiff did not return a request for comment on whether any intelligence agency leaders have accepted the invitation.

The Senate briefing last year prompted Trump to lash out at the top U.S. intelligence leaders who testified, which included then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

Maguire, who took on the role of acting director after Coats stepped down in August, last testified before the House Intelligence Committee in September when he faced questions about a whistleblower complaint that sparked impeachment proceedings in the Democrat-led House. Filed by a CIA analyst who has not yet been publicly confirmed, the complaint alleged the president applied pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in order to get him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

As impeachment heats up with two articles accusing Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress making their way to the Senate this week, Republicans are protesting the Democrats’ refusal to release the transcript of the October deposition by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who deemed the whistleblower complaint to be urgent and credible and who first notified lawmakers of its existence.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said on Monday that Atkinson still faces “serious questions” and that House Republicans have an “active investigation” into him.

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