Matt Gaetz files formal ethics complaint against Adam Schiff, calls for investigation

(File Photo: screenshot)

Rep. Matt Gaetz has filed an ethics complaint against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for “false statements” and “rules broken” in conducting the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

The Florida Republican urged the House Ethics Committee to open an investigation into Schiff in a letter sent Wednesday citing a violation of House rules in the proceedings under Schiff’s leadership.

Gaetz accused the California Democrat of “distorting” Trump’s call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, lying about “Russian Collusion” and “blocking” Congressional lawmakers from attending closed-door impeachment hearings.

“Schiff must be held accountable,” Gaetz tweeted on Wednesday.

The Republican lawmaker, who was kicked out of a closed-door impeachment hearing with Trump’s former top aide on Russia, Fiona Hill, earlier this month, led some of his GOP House colleagues recently and stormed a secret hearing by House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight Committees in protest of the way Schiff has been conducting the proceedings.

Gaetz accused Schiff in his ethics complaint of giving a “distorted” and “wildly-inaccurate” characterization of the July phone call between Trump and the Ukraine leader during which the president asked for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

The letter noted that Schiff’s performance in portraying Trump’s remarks — which he admitted was a “parody” — violated House Rules and was “grossly misrepresenting the content of the call to the American people.”

“This behavior does not ‘reflect credibility on the House,’ nor does it follow ‘the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the House,’” Gaetz wrote. “It is incumbent on Members of Congress to be accurate and honest to the American people, and Chairman Schiff has been neither.”

Schiff committed a “blatant and clear-cut violation” of precedent, Gaetz added, which specifically is “prohibiting making ‘accusations that the president has committed a crime,’ or claiming ‘that the president has done something illegal.’”

“Unfortunately, Mr. Schiff’s behavior cannot be construed as an ‘honest mistake,’ as it is long-standing and habitual,” Gaetz wrote.

“Mr. Schiff’s unprofessional and divisive behavior has caused conflict within the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence,” Gaetz noted, referring to earlier this year when GOP lawmakers on the panel called for Schiff’s immediate resignation in a letter.

The Florida lawmaker warned this week that Republicans would call Schiff as a fact witness in the House Judiciary Committee.

A spokesman for the Intelligence Committee Democrats indicated that Schiff is not batting an eye at Gaetz’s ethics complaint.

“We don’t think anyone takes Mr. Gaetz seriously, especially on the subject of ethics,” Patrick Boland said in a statement to Roll Call.

Schiff has also hit back at Republicans and their attacks by declaring last week that they are lacking “courage.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to present a formal floor vote on Thursday on the impeachment inquiry, though many doubt that she has the necessary “smoking gun” to be successful. The latest polls indicate that Americans are also still not fully on board with impeaching the president.

Meanwhile, Republicans like Gaetz continue to push back against attacks that Trump has repeatedly decried as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.”

“Chairman Schiff has abused his authority and seems to believe that the rules of the House of Representatives do not apply to him,” Gaetz said in his ethics complaint letter. “We cannot have a multi-tiered justice system in the United States or in the Congress. His egregious behavior must change immediately.”


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