In a move that could lead to headaches for President Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has named Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Schiff, whose district includes part of Pasadena, is one of President Donald Trump’s staunchest critics. The two men have jousted on Twitter and in other media since Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
The House Intelligence Committee is charged with the oversight of the country’s intelligence community. Schiff was sworn into the post on Jan. 4.
“Despite the enormity of the committee’s responsibilities — the oversight of 17 different agencies — and the added responsibility of the investigation into the Russian attack on our democracy, I look forward to an invigorated committee that will both provide guidance and authorization to the intelligence community, while also rebuilding internal comity and strengthening the relationship between the Congress and the intelligence community,” Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, said in a prepared statement.
Schiff called the past two years of the committee difficult.
The committee was split on partisan lines as members investigated Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The investigation was abruptly closed by then-committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Fresno) and the Republican majority with a proclamation that there was no collusion between members of the Trump election campaign and the Russians in the election.
Schiff and his Democratic counterparts claimed that important documents were not reviewed and several witnesses were not called before the investigation ended.
Schiff has indicated he will reopen the investigation. This time the Democrats will have subpoena power.
On Monday, Schiff told the LA Times editorial board that Democrats would look into Trump’s private business deals if Special Counsel Robert Mueller opted not to investigate those matters, including a deal to build a skyscraper in Russia that was ongoing during the election.
“This year, we must once again rise to meet this immense challenge — and my Democratic colleagues and I pledge to put the nation’s security and our constitutional responsibilities first, and to make every effort to conduct our work in a transparent and nonpartisan fashion,” Schiff said in the statement.