House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) a serial “liar” whose starring role in the impeachment utterly discredited the process.
The Republican lawmaker told Fox and Friends that Schiff had been repeatedly dishonest throughout the Russian collusion and Ukraine sagas — not that it matters to Democrats pressing forward with impeachment. Schiff joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) at a dramatic press conference announcing formal articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday.
“Schiff dislikes this president so much, he will lie and lie and do anything to impeach this president,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy slams Schiff
McCarthy and his fellow Republicans have long condemned Schiff for making false claims to damage President Trump. Schiff repeatedly claimed that Trump colluded with Russia, even after Robert Mueller said that the opposite was true, and his numerous falsehoods throughout the impeachment saga have prompted Republicans to attack his high profile role in the proceeding.
“We found out that was a lie,” McCarthy said of Russian collusion. “Remember when he said he wished he knew who the whistleblower was? That was a lie.”
Republicans have needled Schiff for seeking to hide the “whistleblower” after it was discovered that his staff had prior contact with the anonymous official — but nothing quite prepared Republicans for the recent discovery that he obtained and published the phone records of his Republican counterpart, Devin Nunes (R-CA), in his committee’s 300-page impeachment report. Schiff has justified the snooping as relevant to the investigation, saying that he did not subpoena Nunes’ records but only those of Rudy Giuliani and Ukrainians with whom Nunes had been in contact.
Although Schiff’s leading role in the impeachment is now done, Republicans continued to rail against him during a hearing in Nadler’s Judiciary Committee Monday, where Schiff was conspicuously absent. Republicans telegraphed their frustration with the slogan “Where’s Schiff?” as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) attacked the Democrats for having their lawyer, Dan Goldman, testify in Schiff’s place about their “findings.”
Trump weighs in
Schiff’s unscrupulous methods have led some to wonder why Pelosi picked him to lead an already divisive and unpopular impeachment, but McCarthy quipped that Schiff was the better choice than the “inept” Nadler. Schiff reprised his leading role at the presser Tuesday, where he joined Pelosi and Nadler to announce articles of impeachment against Trump for “abuse of power” and “obstruction” of the impeachment inquiry.
The president responded by asserting that Schiff will “eventually have to answer for this” in an angry tweet blast that recalled Schiff’s false reading of Trump’s phone call with Ukraine, about which Trump has repeatedly complained. Trump said that Schiff “made up a horrible and fraudulent statement, read it to Congress, and said those words came from me. He got caught, was very embarrassed, yet nothing happened to him for committing this fraud.”
Republicans have repeatedly threatened to have Schiff testify about his contacts with the “whistleblower,” but that appears increasingly unlikely as Democrats push full speed ahead toward impeaching Trump before the New Year. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has shot down calls to have Schiff testify in the Senate, and he won’t entertain growing demands to punish Schiff by subpoenaing his phone records either.
Trump can complain all he wants, but it looks like Schiff’s role is complete, and Democrats are speeding ahead. Democrats in the Judiciary Committee could vote on impeachment articles this week, setting up a full House vote before Christmas.
Schiff finally got what he wanted — but whether it will benefit his party in the long run is far from certain.