Rep. Matt Gaetz Files Ethics Complaint Against Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff

October 30, 2019 Updated: October 30, 2019

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) filed an ethics complaint against House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Wednesday, the latest signal House Republicans have lost trust in one of the leaders of the Democratic party.

Schiff faced calls to step down as chairman or resign and a censure motion for fabricating a portion of President Donald Trump’s phone call transcript and misleading the public on contact with the person who filed a complaint against Trump. Additionally, Republicans have repeatedly noted he said he had evidence of Trump colluding with Russia that he’s never produced.

The latest effort from Gaetz, who led dozens of representatives into a closed impeachment hearing last week, is over Schiff’s handling of the impeachment inquiry. Schiff is in charge of the inquiry with other Democratic chairs.

The ethics complaint cites Schiff for “distorting POTUS’s call with [Ukrainian] President Zelensky” and “lying to the public about Russian collusion” in addition to “blocking members of Congress from attending impeachment depositions,” Gaetz said.

Gaetz sent a two-page letter to House Ethics Chairman Theodore Deutch (D-Fla.) and Ranking Member Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) asking them to open an investigation into Schiff, alleging rules were broken and false statements were made.

“Mr. Schiff’s behavior cannot be construed to be an ‘honest mistake’ as it is long-standing and habitual,” Gaetz wrote.

“In a March 2017 interview, Mr. Schiff claimed to have ‘more than circumstantial evidence’ of President Trump and his campaign ‘colluding’ with Russia. As the report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller II has made clear, Mr. Schiff’s claim was baseless and untrue; to date, Chairman Schiff has not justified his statement.”

Gaetz also said the resolution House Democrats released on Tuesday would give Schiff greater power than he already has.

“Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment resolution gives unprecedented power to the intelligence committee chairman, Adam Schiff, and that’s deeply troubling,” Gaetz told reporters before filing the complaint.

“Schiff has proven in this process that he cannot adhere to the fundamental principles of fairness.”

Top Republicans and the White House have criticized the resolution, which Democrats say will provide more transparency as the inquiry moves into the next phase. Schiff would have a number of powers if the resolution passes, including blocking House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) from asking certain questions or calling all the witnesses he wants to.

A Schiff spokesman told Fox News in response to the ethics complaint being filed: “We don’t think anyone takes Mr. Gaetz seriously, especially on the subject of ethics.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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