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House Judiciary Committee's top Republican challenges Adam Schiff to testify on impeachment probe: 'Be the first witness'


'Folks, this ain't over'

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) wants to treat his impeachment proceedings as if he's a special counsel, then he should publicly testify like one when he's finished, says the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

At a Thursday news conference following the House's mostly party-line vote on a resolution regarding the chamber's ongoing impeachment proceedings, House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) issued the challenge.

Congressional Republicans have critiqued the clandestine nature of the current proceedings, arguing that the testimony from witnesses should be given publicly, rather than behind closed doors. However, those defending the current stage of the probe liken it to a grand jury or special counsel investigation.

"The special counsels in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments conducted their investigations in private and we must initially do the same," Schiff wrote in a letter to colleagues earlier this month.

"If he wants to be — as said — a special counsel ... then here's my challenge to Mr. Schiff," Collins said: "You want to be Ken Starr? Then be Ken Starr."

During the Clinton impeachment inquiry independent counsel Ken Starr appeared before the House Judiciary Committee in November 1998 and answered questions on his findings for several hours.

"Come to the Judiciary Committee, be the first witness, and take every question asked of you," Collins challenged, "Starting with your own involvement with the whistleblower."

The language of the resolution passed Thursday allows for the impeachment matter to go to the Judiciary Committee at a later stage.

"Folks, this ain't over, get ready," Collins concluded. "The cloud that is dropping will be dropping on [Democrats'] heads because process and substance will always win out in the end, and this president has nothing to worry about on substance."

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