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The clash begins: Collins comes out swinging, motions to call Schiff as a witness

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Rep. Doug Collins blasted out of the gate of Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing with a blistering opening statement calling the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry a “simple railroad job.”

The Georgia Republican and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee unloaded on Democrats in the first of the panel’s public hearings following the release of Rep. Adam Schiff’s impeachment inquiry report on Tuesday, saying the only things driving them and the process are “the clock and the calendar” and not the facts.

(Video: C-SPAN)

“The American people are really going to look at this and say, huh? What are we doing? There’s no fact witnesses planned for this committee. That’s an interesting thing. Frankly, there’s no plan at all except next week an ambiguous hearing on a presentation from the other committee that sent us the report,” Collins said.

“This is not an impeachment. This is just a simple railroad job. And today’s is a waste of time,” he added, telling the academic witnesses called to testify that they really have nothing new to add to the case against the president.

“America will see why most people don’t go to law school. No offense to our professors. But please, really? We’re bringing you in here today to testify on stuff most of you’ve written about, all four. With the opinions we already know out of the classrooms that maybe you are getting ready for finals in, to discuss things that you probably haven’t had a chance — unless you are good on TV or watching the hearings the last couple of weeks you couldn’t possibly have digested the Adam Schiff report from yesterday or the Republican response in any real way,” Collins said.

“Why did everything that I say up to this point about no fact witnesses — nothing — for the Judiciary Committee, which spent two and half weeks before this hearing was held under Clinton. Two and a half weeks we didn’t find your names out until less than 48 hours ago. I don’t know what we’re playing hide the ball on,” he added.

“Do you know where this started? It started with tears in Brooklyn in November 2016 when an election was lost. So we’re here. No plan. No fact witnesses,” he said, blasting Rep. Jerrold Nadler for talking about impeachment even before he became the chairman of the panel.

“So don’t tell me this is about new evidence, new things and new stuff,” Collins said. “We may have a new hearing room…but this is nothing new folks.”

A motion by the GOP lawmaker to request Schiff as the Intelligence Committee Chair to attend the hearing.

“I move to require the attendance of Chairman Schiff before this committee,” Collins said.

Collins’ motion tabled in a 24-17 vote.

Frieda Powers

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