Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, filed an ethics compliant in the U.S. House against Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, on Wednesday, claiming that Schiff has made two rule violations in his conducting of the impeachment inquiry the House launched late September, per The Hill.
Gaetz, a vocal supporter and ally of President Donald Trump, filed the complaint Wednesday in a letter to Florida Democrat Rep. Ted Deutch, chairman of the House Ethics Committee and to Texas Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant, a ranking member on the committee. Gaetz’s two major complaints revealed in the letter involve Schiff’s retelling of the president’s Ukraine call in September and his decision to only allow members of three committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry into closed-door sessions.
“The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on the whistleblower complaint on September 26, 2019,” Gaetz wrote in a letter to Deutch and Marchant. “During this hearing, Chairman Schiff gave a wildly-inaccurate and distorted ‘retelling’ of President Trump and President Zelensky’s call, grossly misrepresenting the content of the call to the American people, and saying that President Trump’s comments were ‘like a classic organized crime shakedown.'”
Gaetz’s comments closely mirror Trump’s rhetoric, who has throughout the past month taken to Twitter to lob attacks toward Schiff following his retelling early on following news of the whistleblower report. Schiff has said that his retelling was satire, and as CNN previously reported, while not a completely verbatim portrayal of events, Schiff’s retelling reflects many of the statements made in the summarized transcript the White House released in September.
The Florida lawmaker went on to suggest that Schiff has actually been in violation of parliamentary precedent since the Mueller investigation, claiming that Schiff’s 2017 rhetoric about the president’s alleged collusion with Russia in the 2016 election was unfounded and that Schiff has yet to justify it. Per The Hill, Gaetz said it is against protocol to suggest that a sitting president has committed a crime.
Gaetz claimed that Schiff’s behavior has been divisive and has lead to rifts within the House Intelligence Committee that he leads. To justify this claim, the Florida Republican pointed to a letter that called for Schiff to step down as the chairman of the committee, which was signed by every Republican member on that committee.
A group of Republican lawmakers led by Gaetz last week stormed a secure room in the Capitol where impeachment proceedings were underway to protest the decision to hold meetings behind closed doors. But as The Inquisitr reported, about a quarter of Republicans who participated in the protest were already allowed into the proceedings because they are members of the committees involved in the inquiry.
Democrats have said that holding the early proceedings behind closed doors allow for more accurate testimony from witnesses and decreases the chance that they will cooperate their stories before testifying before the committees. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Monday that the House would take on a formal vote on Thursday in order to formalize the impeachment proceedings.