House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff was called out by a Republican lawmaker after he accused the congressman of interrupting a witness during the impeachment hearing.
Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas let the California Democrat know his smug dress-downs were not going to go unchallenged as he runs President Trump’s show trial, tangling with Schiff over being interrupted.
(Video: YouTube/Fox 10)
State Department official David Holmes appeared before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday and was being questioned by lawmakers about his claim to have overheard a July 26 phone call between the president and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland about Ukraine launching political investigations.
Schiff claimed Conaway had “cut off” one of the responses by Holmes and asked the witness if he would like to finish his statement as Conaway’s allotted five minutes of questioning expired.
“You were cut off when you were talking about Sondland’s indiscretion, did you want to finish that answer?” Schiff asked.
“Mr. Chairman, that’s patently unfair,” Conaway interjected as Holmes agreed that he would like to complete his remarks.
“Mr. Conaway …. to interrupt the witnesses as you have done repeatedly,” Schiff responded, speaking over the Republican congressman.
“You’re certainly willing to interrupt me during my five minutes,” he shot back at the chairman. “You’re the only person on this dais that has unlimited time. You have absolutely unlimited tine. You’re the only one that has abused that power and you’re continuing to do that!”
“The gentleman will cease,” Schiff declared, on a power trip as he banged his gavel.
“We allow the witnesses to answer the question even if those asking the question don’t want to hear the answer,” he said.
“Does that apply to you as well?” Conaway, the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, fired back.
“Yes it does,” Schiff replied.
The heated exchange between the lawmakers followed another confrontation earlier this week as they locked horns over the identity of the whistleblower who initially filed the complaint about Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president which sparked the impeachment inquiry.
As he finished questioning witnesses during Tuesday’s impeachment inquiry hearing, Conaway made a “personal request” that Schiff explain why the anonymous whistleblower had “immunity” from testifying.
(Video: YouTube/Fox News)
“[I want] you and/or one of the members of the committee that are lawyers to put into the record the federal statute that provides for the absolute immunity or right to immunity that you’ve exerted over and over and over,” the Texas congressman told Schiff. “I don’t think it’s there.”
“And before you get mad and accuse me of wanting to out the whistleblower, you get upset every time somebody accuses you personally of knowing who the whistleblower is,” Conaway added.
“I get upset every time you… accuse me of — simply because I want to know the whistleblower or we want to know what’s going on — that [Republicans] want to ‘out’ that individual,” he went on as Schiff petulantly sat, arms crossed, staring straight ahead.
“I know that you’ve overruled my request for a closed-door subpoena [of the whistleblower],” he said. “I do think it’s important you put in to record the basis on which you continue to assert this absolute right to anonymity of the whistleblower.”
The Texas Republican suggested the chairman was “defying” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who had stated in a September letter to all members of the House that whistleblowers are “required by law to testify to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.”
“At least set the record straight,” Conaway said. “Is the whistleblower required by law, as the speaker said, to testify to us or not, and what is this absolute right to anonymity?”
Schiff’s response was to simply refer to the federal whistleblower statute and then move on with the hearing.
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