The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff voiced his concern Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican, had canceled an open intelligence committee hearing on Russia.
Schiff said it would be “a serious mistake” not to hold public committee hearings related to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
The public hearing was set to take place next week with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.
“We don’t welcome cutting off the public access to information when we have witnesses who are willing to testify in an open session,” Schiff said Friday.
Schiff comments come just minutes after Nunes decided to unexpectedly announce that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort had agreed to be interviewed by the committee.
The Democratic lawmaker said he would “welcome it” but only if Manafort agreed to be interviewed in a public hearing. Nunes disagreed with that and said he would allow Manafort to decide whether that hearing would be open or closed.
Schiff voiced his concern for Nunes decision to not hold a public hearing.
“To take evidence that may or may not be related to an investigation into Trump and his associates to the White House was wholly inappropriate,” Schiff said. “All of us are essentially in the dark.”
When asked whether he thought that Nunes should recuse himself from the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties, Schiff replied that “that’s a decision that Paul Ryan,” the House speaker, “needs to make.”
He added that Trump “is now interfering in this investigation.”