Rep. Douglas A. Collins (Ga.), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, slammed Democrats on multiple fronts as he delivered his opening statement Monday morning — casting the probe as a “focus group impeachment” driven more by politics than principle, meant to distract from a booming economy.
But Collins saved much of his invective for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who directed the investigation into Trump’s Ukraine dealings that the Judiciary panel is set to review Monday. Collins has pushed for weeks to have Schiff personally testify — insinuating that he needs to answer questions about the origin and conduct of the probe.
But under the rules adopted by the House in an October party-line vote, it falls to Schiff’s top investigator, Goldman, to present the Intelligence Committee findings, not Schiff himself.
“Guess he can’t back up his own report,” Collins said. “Today, I guess, is the movie version of the Schiff report, except one thing: The star witness failed to show up. … Where is Mr. Schiff?”
Also absent: Attorneys for Trump, who declined an invitation from Nadler to participate in the Judiciary Committee’s proceedings.
Elsewhere, Collins made reference to Schiff’s decision to subpoena phone records from figures involved in the Trump administration’s Ukraine policy, including Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and businessman Lev Parnas. Those records revealed calls between those two men and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the top Intelligence Committee Republican.
“I might need to just stop commenting on Chairman Schiff … because I may end up on the next phone records subpoena,” Collins said, suggesting the phone records were released as a political “vendetta.”
In closing his remarks, Collins returned to a frequent GOP line of argument: Democrats are simply desperate to drive Trump from office, by any means necessary.
“The economy is good. … The military is strong. Our country is safe,” Collins said. “And the Judiciary Committee has been relegated to this. Why? … They can’t get over the fact Donald Trump is president of the United States. And they don’t have a candidate that they think can beat him. It’s all political.”