As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) took center stage in recent efforts to remove President Donald Trump from office. But according to Devin Nunes (R-CA) and the other Republicans on the Intel panel, Schiff has been focused too much on going after the president and not enough on his legislative duties.
In apparent protest of Schiff’s failure to address alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in the wake of a damning inspector general report released last year, among other pressing intelligence matters, Intel panel Republicans boycotted a public subcommittee hearing Wednesday morning, arguing that “critical” matters aren’t being addressed, according to Fox News.
“Under your chairmanship, the House Intelligence Committee has strayed far from its mandate of overseeing the Intelligence Community,” Republican committee members wrote in a letter to Schiff, according to a report from the Washington Examiner.
They went on: “In fact, we have gone months at a time in which we’ve hardly held any oversight-related briefings or hearings at all.”
Republicans went on to write in their message to Schiff that until his Intel panel “prioritizes oversight activities related to urgent and critical concerns, Republican Members cannot support distractions from our core responsibilities.”
“It is concerning that you prioritize publicity events rather than the more productive work that occurs in the Committee’s classified spaces,” the Republicans added. “We hope this Committee can move past political investigations and publicity stunts and get back to the important work we have traditionally undertaken on a bipartisan basis.”
Unsurprisingly, Democrats weren’t impressed by Republicans’ move. Opening the hearing on Wednesday, Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes (D) called the GOP’s statement “as wrongheaded as it is mendacious,” The Hill reported.
“This is a sad and dangerous moment even as this committee was the epicenter of the polarizing impeachment debate,” Hines added, according to The Hill. “The committee has always succeeded in compartmentalizing the emotions and arguments of impeachment and the critical work we do on behalf of the American people… Today that Rubicon has been crossed.”
According to Fox News, Republicans’ letter was written by Nunes and Utah Rep. Chris Stewart (R), and “was signed by Republican Reps. Michael Conaway, Michael Turner, Brad Wenstrup, Rick Crawford, Elise Stefanik, Will Hurd, and John Ratcliffe.”
It comes after Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz revealed late last year that there were “serious” improprieties in the FBI’s applications for FISA warrants to spy on the 2016 Trump campaign team, and, in particular, campaign aide Carter Page. Indeed, even Schiff has acknowledged that there were some big problems.
“The IG’s investigation did identify issues and errors in the FISA process, including potential misconduct,” Schiff admitted in December, according to Fox News.
So what’s keeping him from looking further into the alleged misconduct? The answer is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for certain: Republicans are anxious to hear “Shifty” Schiff’s latest excuse.