Republicans on Thursday confronted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam B. Schiff for his two years of leveling conspiracy charges against President Trump, urging him to resign because they “have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties.”
Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, defended himself by listing supposed inappropriate contacts between Trump associates and suspect foreigners. But he didn’t list a single instance of Trump people coordinating in Russian election interference, as he did at a hearing on March 20, 2017.
Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the previous chairman and now ranking Republican, and other GOP members signed a letter to Mr. Schiff, who has reopened a Russia probe. The letter cited the decision by special counsel Robert Mueller to end his investigation without finding that Trump associates conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election by hacking computers or posting social media broadsides against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Under Mr. Nunes, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Republican majority also cleared the Trump campaign.
“Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as Chairman of this Committee, which alone in the House of Representatives has the obligation and authority to provide effective oversight of the U.S. intelligence community,” the letter states. “As such, 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.”
Mr. Schiff reacted angrily Thursday as he convened a hearing with four expert witnesses on Russian influence operations and the actions of oligarchs to aid President Vladimir Putin. As he stared at Republicans, he began a refrain of “you might think it’s OK” as he listed events such as Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on Mrs. Clinton. Witnesses say no such information was passed.
DOCUMENT: Read the letter to Rep. Adam Schiff
He also noted that former campaign chairman Paul Manafort provided some type of polling data to Russia-linked Ukrainian officials and campaign adviser Roger Stone’s brief email exchange with a hacker who turned out to be a Russian intelligence operative.
After the hearing, Mr. Schiff tweeted: “I say this to the President, and his defenders in Congress: You may think it’s okay how Trump and his associates interacted with Russians during the campaign. I don’t. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. And yes, I think it’s corrupt.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California supported and defended Mr. Schiff amid the Republican criticism.
“I’m so proud of the work of Chairman Adam Schiff,” Ms. Pelosi said. “I think they’re just scaredy-cats. They just don’t know what to do.”
Republicans say that if there were collusion in the election, it was the Clinton campaign paying middleman to collect disinformation on Mr. Trump from the Kremlin and spread it around Washington to the FBI and news media.
The Republican letter said, “Despite these [Mueller] findings, you continue to proclaim in the media that there is ‘significant evidence of collusion.’ You further have stated you ‘will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. That is, is the president or people around him compromised in any way by a hostile foreign power.’
SEE ALSO: Donald Trump calls for Adam Schiff’s resignation
“Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming. 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.”
Rep. Michael R. Turner, Ohio Republican, likened Mr. Schiff to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the virulent 1950s anti-communist who alleged that a number of U.S. government officials were working with the Soviet Union.
“I believe the chair has abused his power,” Mr. Turner said. “He’s misrepresented the information we received in classified sessions.”
“Now Mr. Chairman, when this body understood that McCarthyism was something to be rejected, it for years watched it,” he said. “But you are using that playbook. In McCarthyism, we had Russia chasing after Russian communists, and now we have Schiff chasing after Russian collusion.”
Mr. Turner said Mr. Schiff is adding prosecutors to the staff, not intelligence analysts. It was a reference to former federal mob prosecutor Daniel Goldman, whom Mr. Schiff hired as his chief investigator.
Mr. Goldman has wholeheartedly endorsed the Christopher Steele dossier. The Democratic Party-financed document hurls conspiracy charges at Mr. Trump and his associates, based on Kremlin sources.
Mr. Mueller, in effect, rejected the charges. Republicans consider it a Kremlin hoax.