Schiff asks Pence to declassify more material from official’s testimony
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) sent a letter to Vice President Pence on Friday requesting that he declassify more material from one of his aides’ testimony in the House impeachment investigation.
The request centered around the testimony of Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer and staffer to Pence, who testified that a conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “unusual, and more of a political nature.”
“Today, the House Intelligence Committee sent the following letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting that the Office of the Vice President, or another relevant classification authority, declassify supplemental testimony provided by Jennifer Williams to the Committee, as noted in our report,” an intelligence panel aide told The Hill.
“While Ms. Williams already testified generally to the phone call in question, declassification of this supplemental testimony will allow the Congress to see further corroborative evidence as it considers articles of impeachment, and provide the public further understanding of the events in question,” the official added.
Schiff wrote in the letter that he was requesting that Pence declassify the contents of a Sept. 18 call he had with Zelensky. Williams had initially testified about the call but said at a subsequent hearing that details of the conversation had been classified.
Williams’s attorney wrote to the Intelligence panel that she had “reviewed certain materials that caused her [to] recall additional information” about the call in preparation for her first hearing that she wished to “disclose to the Committee,” but Pence’s office informed her that the new information she remembered was classified. She later provided a classified supplemental written submission regarding information she had on the call.
Schiff in his letter seized on the fact that the vice president said last month he has “no objection at all” to the release of information about his call with Zelensky.
“Your willingness to release the transcript of your calls with President Zelensky necessarily means that you do not believe there is anything contained therein that would cause any harm to U.S. national security if publicly disclosed,” Schiff wrote.
Pence’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
The conversation between Pence and Zelensky took place after Schiff revealed that a whistleblower had filed a complaint about a July 25 conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian president about which Williams later expressed concerns.
The call is at the center of the impeachment proceedings in the House against Trump, with Democrats saying they could introduce articles against the president as soon as next week.
Trump has gone after Williams, claiming she is a “Never Trumper.”
“Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released [statement] from Ukraine,” the president tweeted. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!”
Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released ststement from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know & mostly never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2019
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