It’s not going to happen, but it should. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy demanded that Nancy Pelosi remove Adam Schiff from the House Intelligence Committee for repeatedly lying over the last two years about having evidence of Donald Trump’s collusion with Russia, right up to “March of this year.” His call-out to Pelosi follows a unanimous letter from the committee’s Republican members demanding Schiff’s resignation:
All nine Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have signed a letter calling for its chairman, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, to step down, citing his claims that there was evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 race.
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, introduced the scathing letter during a public committee hearing Thursday and then read it aloud.
“Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming,” Conaway said. “The findings of the special counsel conclusively refute your past and present exertions, and have exposed you of having abused your position to knowingly promote false information.”
“Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as chairman of this committee,” Conaway added. “As such, we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your constitutional responsibility, and urge your immediate resignation as chairman of the committee.”
Rather than remove Schiff, Pelosi instead declared herself “proud” of Schiff’s work. He has Republican running scared, Pelosi told the press shortly after McCarthy’s demand:
NEW: "I'm so proud of the work of Chairman Adam Schiff," Speaker Pelosi says after GOP members of House Intel Committee call for his resignation.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 28, 2019
Schiff roared back at Republicans after the letter was read aloud. Even if Mueller found nothing criminal in Trump’s conduct, there has been enough uncovered to justify accusations of collusion, Schiff argued. Whether that qualifies as conspiracy is a different matter:
The typically soft-spoken Schiff responded angrily, accusing Republicans of ignoring voluminous evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to accept Russia’s help in the election. He noted that Donald Trump Jr. met secretly with a Russian lawyer who he hoped would provide dirt on Hillary Clinton and told an associate he would “love” the Russian government’s help.
He also noted that Trump helped dictate a false story about the meaning of his son’s meeting and, during the campaign, openly asked Russia to obtain Clinton’s emails — a comment Trump later construed as a joke.
Schiff said that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort allegedly provided polling data to a Russian intelligence-linked associate and that his former national security adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI about his post-campaign conversations with Russia’s ambassador.
“You might think that’s OK. I don’t,” bellowed Schiff. “I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion.”
First off, how do you get collusion without conspiracy? How does one collude alone? Also, Schiff seems to overlook the DNC’s efforts to get dirt on Trump from Ukraine, an effort that gets very little mention, perhaps because the Clinton campaign wasn’t stupid enough to do it themselves. The attempt by Manafort to sell polling data to his former Russian partners had nothing to do with the campaign either, but Schiff’s not interested in making distinctions about reality. He’s looking for ways to justify his politicization of the committee’s work and Mueller’s conclusions.
Frankly, both Pelosi and McCarthy might be well advised to disband the House Intelligence Committee and start over from scratch. For the past two years it has been a discredited dumpster fire, and at this stage no one takes what any of them have to say or do seriously. Contrast that with the solid and generally bipartisan operation in the Senate Intelligence Committee; even when the two sides don’t agree, they’re generally disagreeing on interpretation rather than objective reality. Today’s rhetorical warfare won’t restore confidence in the HIC’s work. It seems doubtful that they’ll get any work done at all over the next 18 months in that environment. Better to start over and get rid of all the “intelligence” experts who live on television rather than keeping their mouths shut.