Washington (CNN)House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has requested documents from a State Department agency on the heels of reports that the White House blocked an official from submitting testimony on climate change.
House panel requests State Department documents after reports White House blocked climate change testimony
Schiff, a California Democrat, said in a letter dated Tuesday to Ellen McCarthy, the assistant secretary for the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, that his committee was left with "deep concern" that the Trump administration recently sought to bar the submission of written testimony from Rod Schoonover "for political reasons." Schoonover, an analyst with the State Department agency, testified before the House panel last week.
The Washington Post, citing several administration sources, reported that officials from several different White House offices took issue with Schoonover's prepared testimony in which he was going to warn Congress about wide-ranging and "possibly catastrophic" national security concerns as a result of human-caused climate change.
In his letter, Schiff said the administration "repeatedly confirmed" ahead of the June 5 hearing that Schoonover would submit written testimony, but that the evening before the hearing, the State Department informed the committee "without explanation" that the agency would not submit a written statement.
He said the House Intelligence Committee, "in light of these reports of undue White House interference in testimony before the Committee," now requests testimony from McCarthy or "an appropriate senior representative" to address: Schoonover's testimony; communications with the White House about that written testimony; the prepared written testimony itself; and other documents relevant to the hearing and blocked testimony.
The Post, in its initial report, said it could not reach Schoonover on Friday for comment, and the White House declined to comment on "internal policy review."
The written testimony, as published in the report, offered major warnings "on the national security implications of climate change." It stood in marked contrast to the generally dismissive tone President Donald Trump has taken towards climate change and to recent remarks from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.