Republicans have accused the Democrats’ so-called “impeachment resolution” of being a sham that would do nothing more than formally grant House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff the powers of an independent counsel, when in reality he’s no such thing.
Speaking during a House Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon, House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Debbie Lesko, a Republican, listed the unprecedented powers that’d be granted to Schiff were the “sham” resolution to pass the House during Thursday’s expected vote.
“It … lets Chairman Schiff determine if Republican witness’s requests are relevant. That’s not fair,” she said. “How about on page four, lines 1 through 4. It says basically that Rep. Nunes, the ranking member in Intelligence, needs permission from Chairman Schiff to subpoena witnesses, unlike what happened in the Nixon and Clinton impeachment hearings.”
“[T]he Nixon and Clinton resolutions allowed subpoenas to be issued by the chairman and the ranking minority member ‘acting jointly,'” the Lawfare Institute notes. “If either declined to act, the individual proposing the subpoena could issue it alone unless the other requested the issue be referred to the full committee for a vote.”
The minority party got subpoena powers in Clinton inquiry.
Game & set. Wanna try my win of the match?https://t.co/BI6tUuH0S5
— ?heymikey80? (@heymikey80) October 26, 2019
“And then on page five, lines 3+, Chairman Schiff is not required to make public all transcripts,” Lesko continued. “He can pick and choose, or he can choose not to make any transcripts public.”
Of course, Schiff has already been busy selectively leaking to the media those transcript details that boost the Democrat Party’s narrative that President Donald Trump deserves to be impeached. Meanwhile, he’s chosen to bury those details that belie this narrative. The impeachment resolution would, according to Lesko and other Republicans, simply legitimize this extraordinary behavior.
Note also that the Intelligence Committee isn’t even supposed to be handling the impeachment inquiry.
“The impeachment proceedings against both Presidents Nixon and Clinton began with a vote by the full House of Representatives directing the Judiciary Committee ‘to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach’ the president in question,” Lawfare further notes.
But in this case, Judiciary Committee members like Lesko have been completely removed from the process.
“I went to that ‘storm the Schiff,'” she continued, alluding to when a team of congressional Republicans stormed one of Schiff’s closed-door hearings last week. “I asked, ‘Can I see testimony?’ I’m a member of the Judiciary Committee. And I’m going to be voting on this in the Judiciary Committee, yet I can’t even see the testimony, as has been done in both Republican and Democrat leadership in the past under the Nixon and Clinton impeachments. It was done in the Judiciary Committee. It was open to the public.”
Lesko then pivoted her attention to something that Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern, a Democrat, had said earlier in the meeting.
“[W]hat’s unique about this particular situation is we don’t have a Ken Starr. We don’t have a special prosecutor building the case … These committees are building the case,” he’d said in defense of the resolution.
Starr was appointed to serve as independent counsel during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearings. McGovern’s point was that, since an independent counsel hasn’t been appointed in the current impeachment process against Trump, it’s only fair that Schiff be allowed to function as a de facto independent counsel. Lesko disagreed.
.@RepDLesko correctly points out that the Democrats are appointing @RepAdamSchiff as the new “Ken Starr.” @senatemajldr made the same point earlier, but she’s not just repeating him; the Democrat chair specifically referenced Independent Counsel Ken Starr as the power they needed
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) October 30, 2019
“You said Ken Star — he’s an independent counsel,” she said. “I’m sorry, Adam Schiff is NOT an independent counsel. In fact, he has made repeated statements over and over and over again that he wants to impeach the president. He’s very biased.”
Not to mention the fact that he’s been credibly accused of ethics violations.
“Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz filed an ethics complaint against House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Wednesday, citing ‘rules broken’ and ‘false statements’ as Schiff plays a starring role in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump,” Fox News has confirmed. “Gaetz sent a letter Wednesday to the House Ethics Committee urging the panel to open an official investigation into Schiff, accusing the Democrat of improper conduct during the impeachment inquiry and the Russia investigation.”
His allegations against Schiff include that the Intelligence Committee chair distorted the president’s call with Ukrainian President President Volodymyr Zelensky (Fact-check: TRUE), that he took part in the Russia collusion delusion conspiracy theory (Fact-check: TRUE) and that he has blocked members of the Judiciary Committee from taking part in the ongoing impeachment inquiry (Fact-check: TRUE).
“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 a written statement. “We cannot have a multi-tiered justice system in the United States or in the Congress. His egregious behavior must change immediately.”
He released a verbal statement as well:
Speaking early Wednesday evening on Fox Business Network, the congressman added that, since Schiff has essentially declared himself independent counsel and thus become a “fact witness,” Gaetz is going to treat him like a witness and subpoena him.
.@RepAdamSchiff has now made himself a fact witness.”
Schiff has declared himself “independent council” aka Ken Starr. So NOW he will be called to testify under oath??
BRING IT?Well played @RepMattGaetz
— Femme Fatale (@RealBasedMAGA) October 30, 2019