Sep 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

House Dems subpoena acting DHS intelligence head over delayed whistleblower testimony

Chad Wolf sits in front of a microphone

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf testifies at his Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on Sept. 23. Photo: Greg Nash/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, issued two subpoenas on Tuesday in an attempt to compel testimony from the Department of Homeland Security's head of intelligence, while accusing the agency of stonewalling testimony from a whistleblower.

Why it matters: The House and Senate Intelligence committees are investigating the DHS based on a former senior officials' whistleblower complaint that he was told to stop giving intelligence assessments on threats of Russian interference in the U.S. because it "made the president look bad."

Where it stands: FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress earlier this month the bureau has seen "very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020," primarily to "denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment."

What they're saying: Democrats are calling for Joseph Maher, head of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, to appear for in-person testimony on Friday in response to the House committee's attempts to receive documents and testimony from the whistleblower, former intelligence and analysis acting undersecretary Brian Murphy.

  • A DHS spokesperson said: "Adam Schiff's claims about DHS stonewalling his committee or obstructing the clearance process are completely false. DHS is doing no such thing and Chairman Schiff, despite the obvious political theater of this subpoena, knows this."
    • "In fact, the department has produced nearly 3,000 pages of documents and has provided two briefings and three transcribed interviews to date."
    • "As Mr. Schiff has now admitted, he is arbitrarily seeking to rush his investigation to affect the election, apparently willing to risk national security to do so."
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