“And I’ll say something even more concerning to me, and that is the intelligence community is beginning to withhold documents from Congress on the issue of Ukraine,” Schiff said. “The NSA, in particular, is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial.”
Schiff added: “There are signs that the CIA may be on the same tragic course. We are counting on the intelligence community not only to speak truth to power, but to resist pressure from the administration to withhold information from Congress because the administration fears that they incriminate them.”
An Intelligence Committee official later said, “Both the NSA and CIA initially pledged cooperation, and it appears now that the White House has interceded before production of documents could begin.”
There were no details on what documents were being withheld or how this information may play into the Senate impeachment trial.
Schiff — who will serve as the lead House manager for Trump’s Senate trial — also criticized the first legal filing in the proceedings by the president’s defense team. That six-page document, released on Saturday night, called the House impeachment case against Trump a “brazen and unlawful attempt” to overturn the 2016 election.
But Schiff dismissed the filing as just a repackaging of the same GOP arguments from the House impeachment hearings.
“Well, it’s surprising in that it really doesn’t offer much new beyond the failed arguments we heard in the House,” Schiff said. “The facts aren’t seriously contested.”