On Thursday, all nine Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee called on Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California), the committee’s chairman, to step down.
Republicans’ reasoning was that Schiff acted inappropriately when continuing to insist that President Trump and his associates colluded with Russian intelligence operatives during the course of his 2016 presidential campaign, despite Attorney General William Barr concluding in his summary of the Mueller Report that there was no wrongdoing.
“Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming. The findings of the special counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions, and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information,” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) said in the hearing. “Your actions, both past and present, are incompatible with your duty as chairman of this committee… as such, we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a matter consistent with your constitutional responsibility and urge your immediate resignation as chairman of the committee.”
However, Schiff didn’t resign, nor did he accept Republicans’ narrative that he made false statements about the question of Russian collusion. Rep. Schiff reminded the committee that in previous statements, he admitted that evidence of collusion and whether or not there was a conspiracy on the part of the Trump campaign to enlist Russia’s help to win the election was up to special counsel Robert Mueller — and that he would accept Mueller’s findings — he nonetheless stood by his initial position that the mountain of collusion evidence was concerning.
“My colleagues may think it’s okay that the Russians offered ‘dirt’ on a Democratic candidate for president as part of what’s described as a Russian effort to help the Trump campaign. You might think that’s okay,” Schiff said.
“My colleagues might think it’s okay that when that was offered to the son of the president — who had a pivotal role in the campaign — that the president’s son did not call the FBI, he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help, no, instead that son said that he would love the help of the Russians. You might think it’s okay that he took that meeting,” he continued.
“You might think it’s okay that Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, someone with great experience running campaigns, also took that meeting. You might think it’s okay that the president’s son-in-law also took that meeting. You might think it’s okay they concealed that meeting from the public. You might think it’s okay that their only disappointment from that meeting was that the dirt they received on Hillary Clinton wasn’t better. You might think that’s okay.
“You might think it’s okay that when it was discovered a year later that they lied about that meeting and said it was about adoptions. You might think it’s okay that the president is reported to have helped dictate that lie. You might think that’s okay. I don’t.”
Adam Schiff goes off, lists the Trump Tower meeting, sharing of polling data, call to hack Clinton, Kushner back channel, and more: "You might say that's all OK … I think it's unpatriotic. And yes, I think it's corrupt and evidence of collusion." pic.twitter.com/ak4XxM6cvF
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 28, 2019
Schiff went on to painstakingly document multiple instances of possible collusion that received major media coverage, like former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort sharing polling data with Russian billionaire Konstantin Kilimnik, who has ties to Russian intelligence agencies. He also reminded Republicans on the intelligence committee that President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, attempted to establish a secret communications back-channel with the Kremlin by way of Russian embassies in the U.S.
But Schiff didn’t stop there. In the heated four-minute response, the California Democrat looked right at intelligence committee ranking member Devin Nunes (R-California) as he detailed how then-candidate Trump asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, and that on the same day, Russians actually did attempt to hack a server associated with the Clinton campaign, according to one of the many indictments Mueller issued.
Schiff also spoke angrily about how Trump’s longtime colleague, Roger Stone, communicated with a hacker working out of Russia’s main intelligence bureau, and about how former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn improperly spoke about the possibility of lifting sanctions imposed on Russia before Trump officially took office, and then lied to the FBI about that conversation.
“I don’t think it’s okay. I think it’s immoral, I think it’s unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic, and yes, I think it’s corrupt, and evidence of collusion,” Schiff said. “And the day we do think that is okay is the day we look back and say that is the day America lost its way.”
Schiff has said he plans to ask Robert Mueller to testify before the intelligence committee about the findings in the report he submitted to Attorney General Barr, though no date has been set as of this writing.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.