“A FACT WITNESS”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 14, 2019) — On Monday night’s “Hannity,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL1) accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA28) of “collusion” with the intelligence-community “whistleblower” whose purported complaint about President Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian president contained a “quid pro quo” based on second-hand evidence.
The term “collusion” was used incessantly by the mainstream media during the 22 months of the Special Counsel investigation which ultimately found insufficient evidence that anyone from the 2016 Trump campaign conspired with Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the election.
On Monday Gaetz was denied entry to the private room where former Trump administration National Security Council member Fiona Hill was testifying in connection with the House Democrats’ “impeachment inquiry” now apparently led by Schiff. Schiff reportedly justified barring Gaetz from the hearing because he is not a member of the Intelligence Committee.
Schiff’s website does not appear to have been updated to show that he is House Intelligence Committee chairman rather than ranking member, which he was during the 115th Congress when Rep. Devin Nunes was chairman. Nunes is now ranking member due to Democrats’ winning of the majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections.
Gaetz is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which was originally leading the effort to impeach President Trump under Chairman Jerrold Nadler. On Monday night, Gaetz accused Democrats of employing unfair methods which have denied the minority the ability to issue subpoenas and call their own witnesses.
“Today, Adam Schiff removed me, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, from the deposition he was taking,” Gaetz told Hannity. “This is proof that Democrats can’t win a fair election, they can’t win a fair debate, and they absolutely cannot run a fair impeachment inquiry because they’re stacking the deck. They’re doing everything they can to limit our access to witnesses and evidence; they’re not allowing us to call witnesses; and by the way, if Republicans had a witness list, it would be Adam Schiff who would be a fact witness because of the collusion that he and his staff were engaged in with the whistleblower that they then lied about…”
“Time and again, we see that Adam Schiff is running a kangaroo court,” Gaetz added.
Earlier on Monday, Gaetz hypothesized that Pelosi designated Schiff to lead the new “impeachment inquiry” after allegedly seeing Nadler’s performance on that front as failing to garner “results.”
At a hearing on September 26, Schiff did not reveal that his office had knowledge of the whistleblower complaint before it became public. On September 17, Schiff told Sam Stein of “Morning Joe” that “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” a statement deemed “false” by The Washington Post.
On October 10, The Washington Examiner reported that the whistleblower interacted with then-Vice President Joe Biden while serving on the Obama National Security Council.
According to an October 4 Fox News report, the whistleblower did not disclose to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson that he had made contact with Schiff’s office before filing his complaint with Atkinson’s office.
On Sunday, Schiff told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he “should have been much more clear” that his staff had had contact with the whistleblower prior to the formal filing of his complaint with the ICIG. On Friday, The Examiner reported that two former Obama and Trump National Security Council “aides who worked alongside the CIA whistleblower at the NSC” joined Schiff’s staff earlier this year, one in February and one in August. The whistleblower’s complaint letter is dated August 12, 2019 and addressed to Schiff and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr.
On September 24, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declared the “impeachment inquiry” after the “whistleblower” complaint became public and was said by Atkinson to be not only “credible,” but also of an “urgent” nature.
Trump has characterized the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as “perfect” and fully appropriate. Following Pelosi’s announcement, the White House released a composite transcript reportedly assembled from notes compiled by national-security White House personnel who listened to the call.
For his part, Zelenskiy has said on two occasions that he did not feel “pushed” during the call to launch or relaunch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden’s involvement in the firing of the former Ukrainian chief prosecutor by Zelenskiy’s predecessor, Petro Poroschenko and Biden’s son Hunter’s subsequent lucrative position on the Board of Directors of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company.
Pelosi has been criticized by Republicans for failing to hold a full House vote on Articles of Impeachment. Pelosi has countered that constitutionally, she is not required to hold a full House vote and that Trump is a “lawless” president who is failing to safeguard national security.