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House chairman probes White House role in climate testimony

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Democratic head of a powerful House committee is probing reports of White House interference with a State Department analyst's written testimony prepared for a recent hearing on climate change and national security.

Why it matters: Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's inquiry could disclose new information about White House challenges to widely recognized scientific findings on global warming and its effects.

Driving the news: Schiff, in a new letter to State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), asks for a suite of documents and communications about preparation of State analyst Rod Schoonover's submission for the June 5 hearing.

The letter says he has "profound concerns" about efforts to "suppress" independent analysis.

Schiff is sending a similar letter to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, his office said.

Context: According to reports last week in the Washington Post and the New York Times, White House aides sought to heavily edit and cut the testimony.

The White House ultimately never cleared the testimony for submission after State resisted the changes and it was not sent to the committee for entry into the official record, both papers reported. However, Schoonover testified orally at the June 5 hearing.

What they're saying: "These reports raise profound concerns that White House officials abused the interagency process in an effort to manipulate, remove, and ultimately suppress the independent, objective analysis State INR planned to present before the Committee on a matter of national urgency," Schiff's letter states.

The White House did not provide immediate comment Tuesday.