Schiff: 'Republicans would like nothing better' than for impeachment inquiry witnesses to coordinate testimony

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSchiff claims DHS is blocking whistleblower's access to records before testimony GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power Rubio on peaceful transfer of power: 'We will have a legitimate & fair election' MORE (D-Calif.) defended conducting closed interviews as part of the House impeachment inquiry, suggesting House Republicans wanted public hearings so witnesses could coordinate their testimony.


“The Republicans would like nothing better — because they view their role as defending the president, being the president's lawyers — if witnesses could tailor their testimony to other witnesses.” Schiff told Margaret Brennan during an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation." He was responding to a question about GOP contentions that Democrats are selectively leaking information from their interviews.

“We may very well call some of the same witnesses or all the same witnesses in public hearings as well. But we want to make sure that we meet the needs of the investigation and not give the president or his legal minions the opportunity to tailor their testimony and in some cases fabricate testimony to suit their interests,” Schiff stated.

Schiff suggested that the release of a White House summary of the call between President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the heart of a whistleblower complaint made it less vital that the whistleblower testify before Congress.

“Before the president started threatening the whistleblower ... we were interested in having the whistleblower come forward,” he said. “Our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected.”

“Given that we already have the call record, we don't need the whistleblower who wasn't on the call to tell us what took place during the call,” Schiff added.

“We want to make sure that we uncover the full details about the conditionality of either the military aid or that meeting with Ukraine's president. It may not be necessary to take steps that might reveal the whistleblower's identity to do that. And we're going to make sure we protect that whistleblower,” he said.

Schiff also told Brennan that he “should have been much more clear” about whether the House Intelligence Committee was in touch with the whistleblower at the time the complaint was filed.

“I was referring to the fact that when the whistleblower filed the complaint, we had not heard from the whistleblower. We wanted to bring the whistleblower in at that time,” he said.