The nine Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee formally called for California Rep. Adam Schiff to step down as chairman of the panel Thursday, alleging the California Democrat “abused” his position by “knowingly spreading false information” regarding collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
“Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming,” reads a letter submitted to Schiff, which Texas Rep. Mike Conaway read aloud at the beginning of a committee hearing.
“We have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your Constitutional responsibility and urge your immediate resignation as Chairman of this Committee.”
Republicans said since before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Schiff has been at the center of a “well-orchestrated media campaign” claiming the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to influence the 2016 election.
They noted Schiff’s now-infamous comment March 22, 2017, that he had seen “more than circumstantial evidence of collusion.”
But those allegations were severely undercut Sunday, when Attorney General William Barr released a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which found no evidence of a Trump campaign conspiracy with the Kremlin.
“The findings of the Special Counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information, having damaged the integrity of this Committee, and undermined faith in U.S. government institutions,” reads the GOP missive.
Schiff dismissed the Republican request. In his response, Schiff read off a list of what he claims were suspicious contacts between Trump associates and Russians. When a committee Republican attempted to respond to Schiff’s litany of allegations, his microphone was cut off.
The Republican letter echoes recent calls from Trump that Schiff be forced out of Congress.
“Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
In their letter, Republicans appear to imply Schiff was involved in or aware of leaks of committee information that fueled speculation about collusion.
“Your repeated public statements, which implied knowledge of classified facts supporting the collusion allegations, occurred at the same time anonymous leaks of alleged intelligence and law enforcement information were appearing in the media,” the letter reads.
“These leaks, often sources to current or former Administration or intelligence officials, appeared to support the collusion allegations and were purported to be related to ongoing investigations of President Trump and his associates.”
The letter notes that committee Republicans also found no evidence of collusion involving the campaign. They released a report April 27, 2018, that laid out the results of the investigation. Schiff has vowed to resume the investigation, with a focus on Trump’s financial dealings and whether Trump associates have worked under the influence of Russia.
“Despite these findings, you continue to proclaim in the media that there is ‘significant evidence of collusion,’” reads the letter.
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