Adam Schiff accuses Trump administration of 'obstruction' in probe of DHS whistleblower

Adam Schiff accuses Trump administration of 'obstruction' in probe of DHS whistleblower
Gage Skidmore

U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

Frontpage news and politics

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff accused the Trump administration of obstructing his investigation of a whistleblower in the Department of Homeland Security.

In response to this "obstruction," Schiff has issued subpoenas for the department and for its acting head of intelligence.

The power struggle arose from the investigation into claims from Brian Murphy, a DHS intelligence official who has alleged misconduct, illegality, and improper political influence from his superiors. In particular, he has claimed that he was instructed to ignore and downplay intelligence on threats from Russia and white supremacy while focusing instead on China, Iran, and left-wing domestic actors like "antifa."

But as Schiff has tried to investigate these striking allegations, DHS is putting up roadblocks.

According to the letter, Murphy's lawyers have been attempting to get a security clearance from the administration so that they can discuss sensitive matters with their client and appropriately advise him in his interactions with the committee. This is a routine process that should not be subject to political or partisan interference, but Schiff said it has been improperly delayed.

"As a result, the Committee has no choice but to resort to compulsory process," Schiff wrote. "As I have stressed in my September 18 and 23 letters, the Committee has a responsibility to independently investigate and substantiate Mr. Murphy's serious allegations, and you and your office have a legal obligation to comply. The allegations, as the Committee has underscored, repeatedly, fall squarely within the Committee's legislative jurisdiction and strike at the heart of the Committee's constitutional oversight responsibility."

The subpoena includes demands for documents relevant to the investigation and for Joseph Maher, the acting under secretary for intelligence and analysis, to appear before the committee on Friday.

The letter also noted that the "Department's irregular handling of this request reinforces concerns that political appointees at the Department have exerted undue influence or control over the security clearance process."

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