News reports indicated that Michael Atkinson (the intelligence community inspector general who certified that the whistle-blower complaint was "credible" and "urgent") testified in closed session of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) on October 4th, 2019. Source USA today.

At the same time, conservative sources published accusations information showing that Atkinson had previously been a senior attorney for the DOJ's National Security Division involved in the FISA warrant abuses leading to electronic surveillance of Carter Page. Judicial Watch in a recent press release describes their FOIA lawsuit to obtain Atkinson's communications related to the subject.

Did HPSCI chairman Adam Schiff ever release the transcript of Atkinson's testimony?

Is HPSCI ranking member Devin Nunes correct that house rules required Schiff to release these transcripts, at least to house members? Would this be a requirement prior to the impeachment vote?

The Hill, and other sources reported that in a October 16, 2019, in a letter to congress, Adam Schiff promised to make the transcripts public, saying:

"At a time that it will not jeopardize investigative equities, we will make the interview transcripts public, subject to any necessary redactions for classified or sensitive information," Schiff wrote.

"We also anticipate that at an appropriate point in the investigation, we will be taking witness testimony in public, so that the full Congress and the American people can hear their testimony firsthand," he added.

Schiff argued that it was important for the interviews to be conducted privately so that witnesses cannot coordinate testimony.

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    It's worth noting Judicial Watch's justifications seem to be not made in good faith. Case in point: cherry picking lines from the ICIG statement that support their point while leaving out the legal refutations of those lines in the very next paragraph: "In fact, by law the Complainant ... need not possess first-hand information in order to file a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern." The forms will never supersede the law, regardless of what errors they have on them. Dec 30, 2019 at 22:35
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    JW's legal justification isn't in the press release, but in the legal complaint. It seems unrelated to the issue of the whistle-blower having first-hand information, in fact, the FOIA action is based on Atkinson's leadership role in DOJ-NSD in 2016-2017, and not in his role as I.G. in 2019. Dec 31, 2019 at 0:52

2 Answers 2


Rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives states (emphasis mine):

(e)(2)(A) [...] all committee records (including hearings, data, charts, and files) shall be kept separate and distinct from the congressional office records of the member serving as its chair. Such records shall be the property of the House, and each Member, Delegate, and the Resident Commissioner shall have access thereto.

It is therefore expected that transcripts would be made available to members of the House who requested them. (Your question about whether this was done is not something that we can answer.)

As the session was held in closed session, Rule XI allows the committee to decide whether or not to release the transcript to the public:

(k)(7) Evidence or testimony taken in executive session, and proceedings conducted in executive session, may be released or used in public sessions only when authorized by the committee, a majority being present.

  • Interesting. I've updated my question to include details on Schiff's promise of public release (with appropriate redaction made.) Dec 31, 2019 at 0:42

As of January 21, 2020, the answer still seems to be no, the transcript of the October 4, 2019, Michael Atkinson deposition has still not been released, even to the members of the presidents defense team participating in the impeachment trial.

In an telephone interview with Sara Carter, Deven Nunes, R-CA, provided his take on the issue:

We really do need to hear from the whistleblower, ... that needs to happen and the fact that the Democrats won’t release the transcript of us interviewing the Inspector General Atkinson that brought this scam forward. Everyone needs to see that testimony and the reason that it’s not being released is because it’s very damaging, not only to the whistleblower, but also to Atkinson himself.”

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