Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has made it clear that he intends to investigate any and all aspects of President Donald Trump — including his administration, his associates, his business and even his family — until he finds something to justify impeachment. But Schiff’s zeal to “get Trump” may have led him to cross a few lines himself.
Conservative watchdog Judicial Watch just slapped Schiff with a formal ethics complaint, charging him with violating House ethics rules over his meetings with anti-Trump witnesses.
Meeting with witnesses ahead of testimony
Judicial Watch announced on Monday that they filed the complaint with the Congressional Ethics Office over Schiff’s communications and contacts with two key witnesses in the anti-Trump investigations: Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Schiff is alleged to have personally met with Simpson at the Aspen Security Forum in July 2018, just a few months before Simpson testified in October 2018 to the committee.
Simpson’s Fusion GPS, a political opposition research firm, was hired by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign in 2016 and played an integral role in the creation and distribution of the anti-Trump “dossier” compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier served as the basis for an FBI investigation, FISA warrants, and innumerable media leaks.
Schiff’s aides are also alleged to have communicated and met with Cohen for at least 10 hours total in the days prior to the disgraced attorney’s recent testimony before several Congressional committees, meetings in which various aspects of his upcoming testimony against the president were discussed.
“Rep. Schiff’s conduct creates the appearance of unethical collusion and synchronization of efforts that calls into question whether Cohen’s testimony was a legitimate congressional hearing or well-rehearsed political theatre,” the complaint reads.
“Schiff has an ethics problem”
In a formal letter that served as the official ethics complaint, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton cited House Code of Official Conduct, Rule 23, clauses 1 and 2, as having been violated by Schiff, due to his inappropriate and previously undisclosed meetings with witnesses ahead of their testimonies to the committees.
Those two rule clauses demand that House members always conduct themselves in a manner that will “reflect creditably” on the House, as well as “adhere to the spirit and the letter” of the various House and committee rules.
“Rep. Schiff has an ethics problem. His and his staff’s irregular communications with anti-Trump witnesses reflect poorly on the credibility of the House and its committees’ investigations,” said Fitton in the announcement.
“It has long been apparent that Rep. Schiff can’t be trusted to lead the Intelligence Committee, so we hope that Democrats on the Ethics Committee stop protecting Mr. Schiff and take action,” he added.
The Daily Wire reported that Schiff is also alleged to have unethically leaked confidential information to the media from closed-door testimonies, at times while hearings are underway, by momentarily leaving the hearing chamber only to later return as CNN reported breaking “scoops” that contained information from the ongoing hearing.