The following is an excellent interview of Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California conducted by John Dickerson on CBS Face the Nation on March 26, 2017 titled “Face the Nation March 26, 2017 Transcript: Cotton, Schiff and Gowdy” and I quote:
“DICKERSON: For more on the investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign officials and Russia, we are joined now by the top Democrat in the House Intelligence Committee, California Representative Adam Schiff. He’s in Palo Alto.
Congressman, I want to start with something Chairman Nunes of the committee said. He suggested that some private citizens had been unmasked as a part of a surveillance effort. If, in fact, that were true, that would be a big deal, wouldn’t it?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, it all depends.
There are perfectly appropriate circumstances to unmask the names of people. In fact, that is done quite often. And the standard is whether the unmasking of those names is necessary to determine the significance of the intelligence.
So, unmasking is not at all unusual. The question is, was it done appropriately? And here, the problem, John, is that none of us have seen what the chairman is talking about. This evidence was taken apparently directly to the White House, which creates another issue, because, of course, it is associates involved in the Trump campaign who are in part the subject of what we are investigating.
That is the bigger problem, I think, than the chairman’s claim. Certainly, we want to oversee the minimization processes, make sure they are operating correctly, but we can’t have a credible investigation if one of the members, indeed, the chairman, takes only information he has seen to the White House and doesn’t share it with his own committee.
DICKERSON: And so he has not shared that with you, including his claim that the president himself, when he was a candidate, was caught in the surveillance; is that right?
SCHIFF: Yes. He hasn’t shared with me. And, to my knowledge — and you can check with my colleague Mr. Gowdy — I don’t think he has shared it with anyone on the committee.
So we are all quite in the dark on this. And we, I think, suffered really two serious blows to the integrity of the investigation this week, one, with that unilateral trip to the White House, but the other with a cancellation of an open hearing that was scheduled for Tuesday with Directors Clapper, Brennan and Sally Yates, the deputy — former deputy attorney general.
I think her testimony in particular would have shed a lot of light for the public on the whole Michael Flynn chapter. And perhaps that is something the White House didn’t want to see. I can’t otherwise account for why we would have this abrupt cancellation of a hearing that both the chair and I had committed to doing.
DICKERSON: Well, the chairman’s argument is that the cancellation of that hearing was necessary because he wanted to have other closed-door testimony beforehand before having that next hearing. That seems like a reasonable idea.
SCHIFF: You know, it certainly would be reasonable, if that were the justification.
But, of course, the one doesn’t preclude the other. We welcome the return of any of the witnesses in closed session. But their testimony doesn’t necessarily preclude us doing an open hearing that we had already agreed with, the witnesses were prepared to do, they were more than willing to do.
So, I really don’t think that is the justification. Indeed, we got word that they were trying to close the open hearing even before they suggested an alternate hearing.
DICKERSON: You suggested in a tweet that the chairman was trying to — quote — “choke off public information.” What evidence did you have for that?
SCHIFF: Well, I think that the hearing that we had on Monday, where the director of the FBI testified for the first time that there is an ongoing investigation of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, as well as the disclosure by the director that there was no factual basis for the president’s accusation of wiretapping by his predecessor, I think that hearing went so poorly for the White House, that there was a lot of pushback in doing a second open hearing, honestly, John, because the other explanations simply don’t make sense.
We could always have Directors Comey and Rogers come back at any time. There is no necessity of having them come back before the open hearing. I think that was merely an effort to camouflage the true object here, which was the closure or the cancellation of the hearing with Sally Yates.
SCHIFF: But let me just make a — yes.
DICKERSON: Well, I just want to interrupt briefly, Congressman, because basically what it sounds like you are saying is that the chairman of the committee is a tool of the White House he is investigating.
And if you are saying that, how can this committee get its work done?
SCHIFF: Well, look, I think the chairman has to make a decision, whether to act as a surrogate of the White House, as he did during the campaign and the transition, or to lead an independent and credible investigation.
I hope he chooses the latter. The country really needs to have an independent, credible investigation in the House. And we had that up until and through Monday. Where I think that the House process went off the rails was with that — that venture by the chairman to the White House.
You simply can’t run a credible investigation that way. I am going to do everything I can to get this back on track. And I implore our chairman and the speaker to rededicate themselves to a serious and bipartisan investigation.
We know that Russia was involved in hacking our democracy. We know that the evidence or information is sufficient to warrant an FBI investigation of this. We are trying to do as much of this as we can in the public eye transparently. Obviously, some of it will have to be done in closed session.
But it really demands both parties work together on this. We made every effort to do so, but we need the chairman to decide that is what his object is as well.
DICKERSON: Congressman, there has been a report from CNN that — Wednesday night that they — that the FBI was looking into collusion with the Russians in the Trump campaign in terms of spreading information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Do you have any information to back that up?
SCHIFF: I am not sure that I can comment on that.
I can say that I think that the investigation that the director talked about at our Monday hearing is justified. I think there is a sufficient basis for that investigation, not to only have been indicated, but for it to continue at this point. And I think that we owe it to the country to do this in a credible way.
I would make one final point, John. And that is, I do think the events of this week call out the need for an independent commission, quite separate and apart from what we do in Congress. There are enough questions that have now been called, that have been raised, where I think the establishment of that commission would give the country a lot of confidence that at least one body was doing this in a way that was completely removed from any political considerations.
DICKERSON: And quickly, Congressman, you have said that there is circumstantial evidence of this connection, but then you said you can’t talk about it.
Isn’t that just what you are complaining about with the chairman of the committee, that he says there are things, but isn’t showing the evidence?
SCHIFF: No, my complaint with the chairman is taking whatever information he has to the White House, when the White House is the subject in a way of the investigation.
I wouldn’t have any problem with the chairman saying that he is concerned about whether minimization procedures are being followed. And I don’t have a concern with other members characterizing the evidence as they have. And many of them have said they think there is no evidence of collusion.
My disagreement with those members is, I don’t think that is accurate, and I feel an obligation to say so.
DICKERSON: All right, Congressman, thanks so much for being with us”
(IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THE REPUBLICAN-CONTROLLED CONGRESS IS NOT GIVING INFORMATION FROM THE FBI TO DEMOCRATS THAT ARE ON THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. THEY ARE ALSO GOING TO HAVE TO IGNORE THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE WHICH WOULD MAKE THE REPUBLICANS IN THE CONGRESS BIGGER DICTATORS THAN SOME PEOPLE THINK THEY ARE. THEN YOU KNOW IT’S TIME FOR A WATERGATE-STYLE INVESTIGATION.
LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran