Every Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is calling on Chairman Adam Schiff to resign Thursday, accusing the California Democrat of weaving a "demonstrably false" narrative of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and "undermining" the credibility of the panel.
At a hearing Thursday, Republican Rep. Mike Conaway read a letter arguing Schiff has been "at the center of a well-orchestrated media campaign claiming, among other things, the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government."
A visibly emotional Schiff, who did not know this broadside from Republicans was coming, had a strident response. At times raising his voice, he listed a litany of known and controversial interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia — including Donald Trump Jr.'s involvement in the Trump Tower meeting and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's sharing of polling data with a Russian associate.
"You might think it's OK," Schiff said. "I don't."
Since special counsel Robert Mueller did not find that Trump campaign associates had colluded with the Kremlin, according to a letter sent to Congress by Attorney General William Barr, Republicans believe Schiff's continued investigation of Mr. Trump and his associates is an example of congressional overreach, and they accused him of abusing his position to "knowingly promote false information."
"Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming," said the letter read by Conaway. "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."
The letter also says Republicans 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." The letter was signed by all nine Republican members of the committee, including moderate Reps. Elise Stefanik and Will Hurd.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove Schiff from his assignment as chairman.
"We need to restore the trust in the Intelligence Committee," McCarthy said, accusing Schiff of lying and comparing him to the infamous Sen. Joe McCarthy. The minority leader also said he would not consider removing Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, who was widely criticized by Democrats during his time as chairman and had to step away from the committee Russia investigation, in return for Schiff's resignation.
President Trump is also picking a fight with Schiff, echoing the call on him to resign.
"Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!" Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
The committee has been riven by infighting since before Democrats took the majority in the 2018 midterm elections. The Republican-led Russia probe broke down along party lines — Republicans concluded there was no evidence Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded, coordinated or conspired with the Russian government. Democrats decried the investigation as superficial and vowed to continue pulling threads they said Republicans ignored.
Asked about the sudden push by Republicans for him to step aside, Schiff told CBS News' Ed O'Keefe Wednesday, "I'm used to attacks from the president and his allies in Congress. This is really nothing new and nothing unexpected."
Emily Tillett contributed to this report.
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