When President Donald Trump recently granted full authority to Attorney General William Barr to declassify any and all documents related to the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion investigation, plenty of Democrats squawked loudly in nervous opposition to the move.
One of those Democrats was California Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who is now calling for leaders of the intelligence community to resign in protest rather than cooperate with Trump’s declassification plans.
Calling them out by name
The Washington Examiner reported that Schiff’s attention was largely focused on two particular intelligence community leaders — CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
Schiff appeared to be under the impression that both of those leaders would be resistant to the efforts to declassify certain documents that would potentially expose wrongdoing by their respective agencies during the prior administration.
The congressman further asserted that if the president were to apply too much pressure to those individuals in demand of their compliance, they should follow the example set by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and resign in protest.
Mattis resigned, in part, over his opposition to Trump’s plans to draw down the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Syria.
Cites Mattis as example
Speaking to the New York Times, Schiff said, “This is a president who will lash out and destroy anything if he believes it will suit his interests.”
“And he now has a capable lieutenant in the attorney general to help him do just that,” he continued.
Schiff suggested that Coats and Haspel should place the interests and integrity of their respective agencies ahead of the wishes of the president, and step down in protest if push came to shove.
“If it gets to a point they are asked to do things that are unlawful or jeopardize the men and women that work within the I.C., they should speak out, and, if necessary, follow the example of Secretary Mattis,” Schiff said.
Cooperation levels remain unclear
The Examiner noted that Haspel has yet to say anything publicly with regard to the declassification efforts. Coats, on the other hand, did release a statement suggesting that while he intended to cooperate with Barr wherever possible, that cooperation could be limited in certain instances, such as when national security interests might be placed at risk.
It will be interesting to see if Coats and Haspel cooperate fully with Barr in terms of declassification, or if they take the advice of Schiff and resign their posts in protest.