Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, blasted the Democratic majority Tuesday over their decision to issue frivolous subpoenas to Trump officials and hold hearings with empty chairs when their marks don’t show up.
Collins called the Dems’ hearing without a witness another “theatrical” exercise and a “spectacle” like Rep. Steve Cohen’s bizarre FFC fried chicken stunt earlier this month at a hearing where Attorney General Bill Barr was a no-show.
“The cameras love the spectacle, Collins declared. “I just am glad today to see that we don’t have chicken on the dais.”
The congressman accused Chairman Nadler (D-N.Y.) of not actually wanting information. “He want’s the fight, but not the truth,” he charged.
“Here we go again,” Collins sighed at the beginning of his is opening statement. “The theater is open and the summations are coming in. In fact, right now we’re going to begin running over the norms of Congressional oversight.”
But I am glad about one thing. I am glad that the chairman read into the record today the Mueller report. I’m glad he quoted directly from the Mueller report. I just wish my chairman would go read the rest of it which he has been offered to read, which he has chosen not to read. But he did leave out one thing … He read McGahn’s testimony beautifully but he left out what he doesn’t want to have to come back to and the frustrating thing that has brought us here again and again and again and that is the conclusions.
There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There’s nothing here.
After two years of doing this, we can read it in, you can talk about how you don’t like it, you can talk about what you would like to ask, but the end of the day we’re going to read in the quotes that will make the headlines but we’re not going to read in the bottom line of what was concluded. The Democrats are here trying again. The Mueller report found that there was no collusion and no obstruction.
Because the report failed to provide damning evidence or information against the president, the majority claims we need to dig deeper. Deeper than the two years of investigation by what is considered a prosecutorial dream team because that probe ended without criminal charges against the president or his family. The special counsel closed up shop without giving Democrats anything to deliver to their base. Now the Democrats are trying desperately to make something out of nothing which is why the chairman has again haphazardly subpoenaed today’s witnesses.
That move has ensured the witness will not testify. This is becoming a pattern. The chairman knew this when he sent the subpoena last month but instead of inviting him to testify voluntarily the chairman rushed to maximize headlines by issuing a subpoena. That subpoena was the third in just four months. More subpoenas than the prior chairman issued in six years. The chairman has several ways out here. He took none of them. The chairman could have invited the witness to testify voluntarily. That was the practice in the 1990s when the White House’s counsel testified before Congress. But the Chairman did not do that.
Instead, he launched a subpoena at the witness without any consultation or follow-up with the witness’s lawyer. The chairman could have invited the witness to testify behind closed doors but that wouldn’t have been politically expedient and you wouldn’t have been here and the show wouldn’t have been as exciting. A closed door testimony wouldn’t have been exciting and everything that we’re looking at today–even gaveling in today’s hearing without a witness is theatrical. The cameras love the spectacle. And the majority loves an opportunity to rant against the administration. I just am glad today to see that we don’t have chicken on the dais.
Collins pointed out that more than 99 percent of the Mueller report has been available for Democrats to peruse, but “the chairman has refused to look at it.”
He also noted that after Barr volunteered to testify before the committee, Nadler “changed the rules for the first time in our 200 year history, thus blocking Attorney General Barr from testifying.”
He added that Nadler’s own witnesses at that hearing said that the classified information they wanted from Barr would be illegal to reveal.
Collins also pointed out that Democrats seem to be dragging their feet on getting Special Counsel Mueller to testify.
“We’ve asked since April about Mr. Mueller coming. But every time we seem to get close, Mueller gets pushed on a little bit,” Collins complained.
[Republicans have more to gain from Mueller appearing, than Democrats do, as he’s already revealed the most damaging information he had on Trump. Republicans, on the other hand, are chomping at the bit to ask Mueller dozens of unanswered questions about his two year probe.]
“You wanted the work of the author but you don’t want to talk to the author,” Collins quipped.
“The question is, are we tearing at the fabric of congressional oversight?” he asked, lamenting that instead of using the powerful oversight committee to examine important issues like the crisis at the border and intellectual property, they are wasting their time on a pointless “circus.”
I cannot emphasize this enough — the chairman’s track record demonstrates he does not actually want information. He wants the fight, but not the truth. The closer he actually comes to obtaining information, the farther away he runs from it. pic.twitter.com/GrZrEAol14
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) May 21, 2019