From left, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., rear, and Rep. Eric...
J. Scott Applewhite

Why Trump is accusing Schiff of ‘stealing people from the White House’

Updated

As part of a tirade yesterday in which he suggested investigations of his scandals shouldn’t be “allowed,” Donald Trump argued via Twitter, “Dems and their committees are … even stealing people who work at White House!”

I had no idea what that meant. When a CNN reporter asked the White House about the president’s tweet, an unnamed staffer, pointing to the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, responded, “Ask Adam Schiff what that means.”

The answer has since come into focus.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has hired former National Security Council staffers to work for him as he launches a sweeping new investigation into President Donald Trump’s finances and foreign connections. […]

Schiff appears to have hired at least one staff member who served on the National Security Council under Trump. The staff member, Abigail Grace, is listed in a House directory as Democratic staff on the intelligence panel. A person familiar with the committee’s staff confirmed that she’s working for the panel and used to work for the NSC.

For what it’s worth, it’s not altogether clear why Trump and his team would find this so upsetting. There’s a limited universe of officials who have the experience, skills, and clearance necessary to work on highly sensitive intelligence matters. The idea of aides having a stint at the National Security Council, before making the transition to the staff at the House Intelligence Committee, isn’t especially odd.

Indeed, the inverse happens, too. Kashyap Patel, who helped co-author the unintentionally  hilarious “Nunes memo,” recently left his staff job on Capitol Hill to join – you guessed it – the National Security Council.

So why is it, exactly, that Schiff’s personnel decisions “enraged” the president and some members of his senior staff? Is there concern inside Trump World about what former aides might say about their impressions of the White House’s work?

For his part, the new chair of the House Intelligence Committee told reporters yesterday, “If the president is worried about our hiring any former administration people, maybe he should work on being a better employer.”

Intelligence and White House

Why Trump is accusing Schiff of 'stealing people from the White House'

Updated