House Republicans on Monday will attempt to force a vote to censure Representative Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. The resolution, authored by Rep. Andy Biggs (R.-Ariz.), has 170 Republican co-sponsors. (It’s unclear why the remaining 27 GOP congressmen have not signed on.)
The motion condemns Schiff for actions that “misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties.” It lists several specific offenses, including Schiff’s repeated claims that he possessed solid evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and his intentional misrepresentation of the July phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
If Schiff were a Republican, his own colleagues would have dispatched him long ago. Compare the way Schiff’s caucus is condoning his misdeeds with the way House Republicans in 2017 signed on to a bogus House ethics inquiry into Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.), sidelining his nascent investigation into the corrupt origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe for eight crucial months. (He was cleared of any wrongdoing.)
Schiff has lied with impunity to the American public and to Congress. He is suspected of leaking nonpublic, and in some instances, classified material to the press.
At the same time, Schiff is denying access to his secret impeachment proceedings and withholding information from House members. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee sent a letter to Schiff on Friday, accusing him of failing to furnish documents related to his “impeachment inquiry,” a clear violation of House rules. Yet Schiff remains a media darling and a hero of #TheResistance.
Schiff’s Possible Crimes
But Schiff’s repeated witness tampering is not just a breach of House protocol, it is a crime. In a bombshell article, Breitbart reported this week that Thomas Eager, a top Schiff aide, traveled to Ukraine in late August and met with the acting U.S. ambassador to that country. The diplomat, Bill Taylor—who is temporarily occupying the position following Trump’s removal of the previous ambassador—is scheduled to testify next week before Schiff’s ongoing impeachment tribunal.
According to Breitbart, Eager traveled to Ukraine from August 24 to August 31; Eager’s meeting with Taylor was the first item of business. (The trip was approved by Schiff, according to official documents.)
The timing of the trip is suspicious for several reasons: The junket occurred during the exact timeframe that the “whistleblower” complaint concerning Trump’s call with Ukranian President Zelensky was under consideration by the intelligence community’s inspector general. On August 28, Schiff ominously tweeted that “Trump is withholding vital military aid to Ukraine, while his personal lawyer seeks help from the Ukraine government to investigate his political opponent.”
But the report had not been submitted officially to Schiff’s committee. Inspector General Michael Atkinson did not alert Schiff’s committee about the complaint until September 9 over an internal disagreement about Atkinson’s assessment that the complaint was of “urgent concern.”
Coincidentally (or not), on that very same day, Taylor sent a text to Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” Taylor wrote to Sondland, who seemed surprised by the message. “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions,” Sondland replied. “The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.” The $250 million aid package was released two days later.
So, Schiff’s lackey suddenly shows up in Ukraine at the end of August to meet with the fill-in American ambassador while his boss is concocting his latest collusion-based impeachment fantasy? What exactly did Eager and Taylor discuss?
Did Eager brief Taylor about the forthcoming “whistleblower” report, which also contained false accusations that Trump “is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election” while expressing alarm about a delay in American financial assistance to Ukraine? After all, there was no reason for Taylor to suggest the aid was tied to giving assistance to a political campaign since nothing of the sort had been reported by the news media. Why did Taylor send that text on the same day that Atkinson tattled to Schiff’s committee about a hold-up of the “whistleblower” report?
Questions for Witnesses
Another question Republicans might want to ask Taylor is whether Eager told him that the committee already had talked to the “whistleblower” before the official report was prepared. In another example of his bad habit of tampering with witnesses, Schiff admitted that, despite his public protestations to the contrary, his committee had been approached by the “whistleblower” prior to filing the complaint on August 12.
An unnamed intelligence committee aide—could it also be Eager?—met with the still-anonymous “whistleblower” and advised the official how to proceed. He then notified his boss, Schiff, who later denied the pre-report rendezvous. Schiff told MSNBC on September 17 that “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.” After the New York Times contradicted that claim on October 2, Schiff was forced to backpedal, insisting he should have been more clear. The Washington Post awarded Schiff four Pinocchios for his initial claim and subsequent excuse.
Now that his chicanery has been exposed, Schiff also is walking back his demand that the “whistleblower” immediately testify before his committee.
In addition to his most recent witness-tampering escapades, Schiff has a few more incidents on the books.
During his House testimony last February, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, confessed that he had been in contact with the California Democrat in advance of the spectacle. “I spoke to Mr. Schiff about topics that were going to be raised at the upcoming hearing,” Cohen told Rep. James Jordan (R.-Ohio). Reports later emerged that Schiff’s staff traveled to New York on four separate occasions to meet with Cohen for more than 10 hours before his testimony, leading to legitimate questions about coaching a congressional witness.
And then there is the allegedly serendipitous meet-up in Aspen between Schiff and Glenn Simpson, the co-owner of Fusion GPS, as Simpson faced congressional scrutiny for his role in facilitating the bogus Trump-Russia collusion hoax and handling of the infamous Steele dossier. A few months after his encounter with Schiff in the summer of 2018, Simpson pleaded the Fifth before the House Intelligence Committee, which was controlled by Republicans at the time.
Tampering with a witness—including attempts to “influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding” including a secret congressional tribunal—is a federal offense. But although Schiff is a repeat offender, his Democratic colleagues refuse to denounce his bad behavior. Schiff is lucky he isn’t a Republican.