Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, urged President Trump’s top intelligence official to explain his undermining of “critical intelligence functions” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a four-page letter to acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, Schiff wrote that he is concerned about Grenell’s implementation of organizational and personnel changes at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence without consulting and seeking authorization from Congress.
“This effort appears to be proceeding despite the coronavirus pandemic and amid indications, exemplified by a March 10 briefing to Members of Congress, of political interference in the production and dissemination of intelligence,” Schiff wrote.
Schiff added that Grenell’s overhaul calls into question both his commitment to ensuring that the Intelligence Community’s (IC) work “is not inappropriately influenced by political considerations” and that the IC “will continue to speak truth to power.”
Schiff went on to point out that Trump did not nominate Grenell for confirmation as permanent DNI, before arguing that it would be “inappropriate” to pursue any additional changes to ODNI during his temporary tenure.
Schiff particularly raised issue with the firing of former IC inspector general Michael Atkinson, who alerted Congress to the anonymous whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment, before demanding that Grenell provide a written certification to his committee about his management of IC by April 16.
Grenell slammed Schiff’s letter shortly after its release in a Tuesday afternoon tweet.
His letter was sent to the press before it was sent to me. These press leaks politicizing the intelligence community must stop. https://t.co/hdWIzGWvZr
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 7, 2020
Read Schiff’s letter below: