House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff Friday blasted Republican calls for him to recuse himself from the impeachment inquiry.
“Republicans continued the president’s strategy of deflection by making the absurd claim that because a whistleblower contacted the committee seeking guidance, the committee cannot conduct an investigation into the compliant,” the California Democrat said.
“If that were true, no whistleblower could contact Congress and no committee could conduct an investigation,” he continued.
Earlier Friday, Republicans emerged from the closed-door testimony of Intelligence Community Inspector General Micheal Atkinson calling for Mr. Schiff to step aside from the impeachment inquiry he is leading.
“Chairman Schiff should disqualify himself from leading the investigation,” said John Ratcliffe, Texas Republican.
Last month, Mr. Schiff said he had not been in contact with the whistleblower who filed a complaint alleging President Trump pressured the Ukraine leader to investigate Democratic presidential frontrunner Joseph R. Biden.
But reports surfaced this week that the whistleblower reached out to a House Intelligence Committee aid before filing the compliant.
The committee aide then directed the whistleblower to Mr. Atkinson, which is standard protocol.
Mr. Schiff said he could not divulge Mr. Atkinson’s testimony but lawmakers did discuss why he found the whistleblower to be credible and urgent.
“Now that we’ve seen the call record, we can see that the IG’s determination was correct,” he said.