At a press conference following the first House impeachment inquiry vote, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) called on Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the head of the House Intelligence Committee, to be the first witness in the upcoming impeachment hearings to answer questions on the anonymous whistleblower that triggered the impeachment inquiry.
“What youve heard so far is very true. But as I said on the floor today, what you saw in the House was a very dark cloud falling upon this democracy. Even more, its falling upon the House because what is happening here—and [Rep. Jim] McGovern had the audacity to stand there today and say all Republicans want to do is argue about process; they dont want to argue about substance. I think our leadership team and others have said today thats not true,” he said.
Toward the end of his statement, Collins, who is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, then went after Schiff and asked him to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.
“When it gets to the Judiciary Committee I do have one thing for Mr. Schiff. If he wants to be, as said, a special counsel, he set himself up, then heres my challenge to Mr. Schiff. You want to be Ken Starr? Be Ken Starr. Come to the Judiciary Committee. Be the first witness and take every question asked of you,” Collins said, referring to former investigator into President Clintons impeachment case.
“Folks, this aint over. Get ready,” Collins concluded.
The whistleblower, who has yet to be identified, reportedly contacted an aide in Schiffs office before taking his complaint to the intelligence community inspector general. Schiff has said that he wasnt aware of the substance of the complaint.
The reported series of events have triggered a GOP-led backlash against Schiff, including from President Donald Trump himself.
However, Republicans have claimed Schiff colluded with the whistleblower to trigger the House Democrat-led impeachment inquiry into Trump. The whistleblower claimed Trump abused his office to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July 25 phone call.
In Thursdays vote, no Republicans supported the resolution and three didnt vote. Two Democrats bucked the partys trend and voted against the resolution, which was a procedural motion to lay out ground rules in the case.