The depth of the conspiracy within the Trump administration to try to discredit his leading Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, was reinforced today in a letter to the current Vice President Mike Pence from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), according to a new article in The Washington Post.
On the eve of the historic impeachment vote in the House of Representatives, Congressman Schiff’s missive addresses Pence’s refusal to declassify testimony that the legislator considers “directly relevant” to the vote to subject Donald Trump to the most significant punishment available to Congress.
With access to the still-classified witness testimony from the congressional inquiries he oversaw, Schiff wrote that the yet to be publically available information “raises profound questions about your knowledge of the President’s scheme to solicit Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”
The testimony in question comes from Jennifer Williams, the vice president’s advisor on Russia, who submitted a supplemental written statement — about a call Pence made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — to the House Intelligence Committee after her initial appearance before Congress, in defiance of the Trump administration’s edict to its executive branch employees to refuse to cooperate with the congressional investigations.
Schiff sent a letter to Pence last week asking him to declassify that supplemental testimony, and the vice president refused to do so, simply saying that he had not discussed with Zelensky any of the topics that Trump had raised in his earlier, supposedly “perfect” call with the Ukrainian President.
Representative Schiff found Pence’s denial about the contents of his call suspicious and “deeply troubling,” since “Without prompting, the letter volunteers that ‘the Vice President never raised the Bidens, Burisma, or Crowdstrike in his conversations with President Zelensky,’ ” as Schiff’s letter quotes Pence’s response. “The Committee neither asserted that, nor asked whether, you specifically used those words.”
The significance of the testimony from Pence’s advisor is that it may lead to accusations that the vice president lied to Congress in his prior communications with the committee.
“If the Supplemental Submission [from Williams] accurately describes your September 18 conversation with President Zelensky . . . it would mean that the representation of your communications with President Zelensky, as described in your office’s December 11 letter, may be purposefully misleading,” Schiff’s latest latter states.
Adding to Schiff’s suspicions about the truthfulness of Pence’s statements about his own Ukraine call is the fact that he has changed his stance from his initial public statements in early November that he had “no objection at all” to releasing the details of the call to the assertion from Williams’ lawyer on November 19 that the vice president had decided to make the call classified.
In his latest letter to pence, Schiff expressed his concern that Pence was protecting himself as much as he was covering for Donald Trump in his refusal to declassify the secret testimony.
“Your unwillingness to declassify the Supplemental Submission raises the serious question of whether your continuing efforts to obstruct the House’s impeachment inquiry are intended not just to protect President Trump, but yourself as well,” Schiff wrote.
With a spokeswoman for Vice President Pence declining to comment on the dispute, the only thing we can do until the contents of the testimony about the phone call from someone with direct knowledge of it is finally disclosed publicly is speculate and fantasize about the prospect of President Pelosi.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.