A Republican congressman is calling on colleagues to punish Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for claiming President Donald Trump said things he never said.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) said impeachment of a president is a serious matter, adding “it is therefore inexcusable to toy with the process and mislead the American public with such a statement.”
Biggs is calling for the House to censure Schiff. His resolution says in part: “Whereas, instead of quoting directly from the available transcript, Chairman Schiff manufactured a false retelling of the conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky; Whereas, this egregiously false and fabricated retelling had no relationship to the call itself; Whereas, these actions of Chairman Schiff misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties.”
Schiff, who serves as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, led a hearing this week that featured testimony from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Midway through his opening statement, the California Democrat decided to deliver a summation of what he said transpired in a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“What happened on the call?” Schiff said. “Zelensky begins by ingratiating himself, and he tries to enlist the support of the president. He expresses his interest in meeting the president and says his country wants to acquire more weapons to defend itself. And what is the president’s response? Well, it reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates.”
Schiff then “quoted” Trump.
“‘We’ve been very good to your country, very good, no other country has done as much as we have, but you know what, I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand, lots of it, on this and on that. I’m going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, I’m going to put you in touch with the Attorney General of the United States, my Attorney General Bill Barr. He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him. And I’m going to put you in touch with Rudy — you’re going to love him, trust me. You know what I’m asking, and so I’m only going to say this a few more times in a few more ways. And by the way, don’t call me again, I’ll call you when you’ve done what I’ve asked.’
“This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine. It would be funny if it wasn’t such a graphic betrayal of the president’s oath of office,” Schiff said.
Rep. Mike Turner, Ohio Republican, ripped Schiff’s fake quotes, saying, “I actually had someone text me, ‘is he just making this up?’ And yes, yes, he was because sometimes fiction is better than the actual words or the text. But luckily, the American public are smart.”
Schiff responded at the time, saying: “As an aside, I want to mention that my colleague is right on both counts. It’s not OK, but also, my summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least part in parody. The fact that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said if you don’t understand me, I’m going to say it seven more times. My point is that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words.”
Trump also blasted Schiff for the made-up quotes. “Rep. Adam Schiff totally made up my conversation with Ukraine President and read it to Congress and Millions. He must resign and be investigated. He has been doing this for two years. He is a sick man!”