| Nunes blasts Schiff for 'blatant disregard' of impeachment rules; blames 'vendetta' against Trump |
EXCLUSIVE: House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes blasted committee Chairman Adam Schiff for what he called an “alarming” and “blatant disregard” for the rules governing the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump, saying Schiff transmitted his investigative findings to the Judiciary Committee for the next phase in the proceedings without consulting him.
Fox News exclusively obtained the letter Nunes, R-Calif., sent to Schiff, D-Calif., on Sunday night. In the letter dated Friday, Nunes wrote that Schiff chose not to consult with him so that he could meet a “bogus” deadline for impeaching the president. The GOP congressman also accused the Democrat of having a “vendetta” against the president.
“I write in objection to your December 6, 2019 transfer of additional records and other materials relating to the Democrats’ partisan impeachment inquiry to the House Committee on the Judiciary,” Nunes wrote.
He went on to cite the rules governing the impeachment inquiry, passed in the House in October, which stated that “the chair of the Permanent Select Committee or the chair of any other committee having custody of records or other materials relating to the inquiry referenced in the first section of this resolution is authorized, in consultation with the ranking minority member, to transfer such records or materials to the Committee on the Judiciary.”
“As the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I received no consultation prior to the transfer of materials, in violation of H. Res. 660,” Nunes wrote. “Accordingly, I expect that you immediately provide me a full accounting of documents that were provided to the Committee on the Judiciary.”
“Your consistent and blatant disregard for the rules is alarming,” Nunes continued. “I can see no reason for you to continue to ignore these rules, which the Democratic majority put in place, other than to meet a bogus deadline of impeaching the President by Christmas.”
He added: “I urge you to put an immediate end to your vendetta against the President, stop your constant rule breaking, and begin treating this Committee and its oversight responsibilities with the seriousness they deserve.”
Last week, the Intelligence Committee voted to adopt and issue a scathing report on its findings from its impeachment inquiry. Democrats on the panel asserted that their inquiry “uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election.”
NUNES LOOKS AT LEGAL OPTIONS AFTER SCHIFF RELEASES PHONE RECORDS IN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
In their impeachment inquiry, the committee conducted extensive interviews with witnesses connected to the Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine, after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that during a July 25 phone call, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed showed a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump repeatedly has denied any wrongdoing.
The Democrats’ report claimed that Trump withheld nearly $391 million in military aid from Ukraine, conditioning its delivery as well as a White House visit with Zelensky on a public announcement that Zelensky was conducting the investigations. It also accused Trump of obstruction of justice for instructing witnesses not to comply with congressional subpoenas.
Nunes took issue with the issuance of the report to the Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., without consulting with him, as well as the transmission of additional underlying investigative material, according to an aide familiar with the matter. Also part of the committee’s report were Nunes’ phone records, which Schiff subpoenaed and released in connection with the impeachment inquiry.
Meanwhile, House Republicans issued their own report earlier this week delivering a point-by-point rebuttal to Democrats’ impeachment efforts.
“The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” Republicans said in their report released Monday.
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Nevertheless, Nadler and Judiciary Committee Democrats, in consultation with Intelligence Committee and Oversight Committee Democrats, and at the direction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have begun drafting articles of impeachment, which are likely to encompass two major themes: abuse of office and obstruction.
The Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing Monday, when counsels for the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees' Democrats and Republicans are to present evidence in the case.