Is Pence ‘Purposely Misleading’ Congress About Zelensky Call?
Reprinted with permission from Alternet
On September 18 — almost two months after President Donald Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — Vice President Mike Pence spoke to the Ukrainian leader. And California Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a key figure in Democratic impeachment efforts against Trump, is alleging that Pence may be “purposefully misleading” congressional investigators about that September conversation.
In a letter to Pence on Tuesday, Law & Order’s Jerry Lambe reports, Schiff asserted that by rejecting the House Intelligence Committee’s request for supplemental testimony about the September 18 conversation, the vice president is raising “profound questions” about his conversation with Zelensky. The supplemental information came from Jennifer Williams, Pence’s foreign policy adviser, and remains classified; Schiff has a problem with Pence refusing to declassify it.
“If the supplemental submission accurately describes your September 18 conversation with President Zelensky,” Schiff wrote, it “raises profound questions about your knowledge of the president’s scheme to solicit Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 presidential election.”
In a letter on December 11, Pence rejected the House Intelligence Committee’s request for that supplemental information on the grounds that it is classified information. But Schiff, in his letter to Pence on Tuesday, asserted, “Contrary to your office’s contention that declassification ‘serves no purpose,’ the additional information in the supplemental submission is directly relevant to Congress’ consideration of articles of impeachment against President Trump and the Committee’s ongoing investigation of the president’s Ukraine scheme.”
One of the two articles of impeachment that Trump is facing is for obstruction of Congress (the other is for abuse of power). And Schiff, in his December 17 letter to Pence, implied that the vice president is also obstructing Congress.
“Furthermore,” Schiff wrote, “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.”