If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is legitimately concerned about the integrity of the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, she might have taken a closer look at extreme partisans she named to the select committee before ousting others.
Her appointments include Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), respectively the team captains for the House managers in the first and second impeachment trials of former President Donald Trump.
"Until Trump got elected, I had respected Adam Schiff as the ranking member and thought he was there to make sure our intelligence community was doing things right and that we were on top of things as far as the threats to America, then I saw it go to predominantly being out to go after this president of the United States." House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Brad Wenstrup (Ohio) said in an interview for my book "Abuse of Power."
The select committee is beginning to look more like "Impeachment 3.0" as Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) once called it. Jordan along with Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.) were the two Republican appointees to the committee that Pelosi banished in her words, "with respect for the integrity of the investigation," and "with an insistence on the truth." As a result, GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) pulled his other appointees from the select committee.
The last person anyone would turn to regarding "integrity" or "truth" is Schiff, who has only proven continuously to be a parody of himself and grew more unhinged in recent years.
In the first public hearing about the Trump-Ukraine phone call that led to the first impeachment, Schiff dramatized a phone conversation to strengthen the impeachment case. After being called on it, he backed down claiming it was "at least part in parody."
Before that, he spent about two years insisting the House Intelligence Committee was privy to "ample evidence" that Trump colluded with the Russian government in the 2016 election cycle that the rest of the public was not. Schiff said on MSNBC that he can't "go into particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now."
These claims were, of course, proven wrong by special counsel Robert Mueller's final report.
Who can forget the anti-Trump zeal that allowed Schiff to be pranked by a Russian comedy team offering him information about compromising "naked pictures of Trump" from Moscow as the smoking gun the California congressman was looking for?
Schiff's repeated claims didn't reflect well on the committee, said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who was chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the first two years of the Trump administration.
"We've been very clear during the process we didn't have the information he talked about," Nunes said in an interview for "Abuse of Power." "The Intelligence Committee is traditionally nonpartisan and has generally not performed in the public domain, except for instances such as the Iraq War. But typically, it has been about national security issues or issues we can't talk about publicly."
The Wall Street Journal editorialized of Schiff, "no one should ever believe another word he says."
As for Raskin, he arguably has some expertise on the matter considering the second impeachment was over the Jan. 6 riot that Democrats call an insurrection.
Raskin is far less a comical figure. But his partisanship and antipathy for the 45th president come close to matching that of Schiff.
In 2017, Raskin actually proposed a commission to examine Trump's mental health. His bill for a commission gained 56 Democratic co-sponsors. As an insurance policy just before the 2020 election, Raskin — with the backing of Pelosi — also proposed legislation concerning the 25th Amendment as a means of removing a president.
Notably, on Jan. 6, 2017, Raskin didn't exactly respect the election process, as he attempted to block the certification of Florida's electoral votes. And, as far as the select committee being on the side of law and order opposing uprisings, Raskin accused police that tried to quell the summer 2020 riots of "intimidation and violence."
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a former House manager in the first impeachment trial, is also a member of the select committee.
Another select committee member, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), has seemingly missed the point on past cases of violence. After radical Muslims killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015, he blamed it on the "epidemic of gun violence" during a January 2016 speech.
Jan. 6 was a horrific day and shouldn't be minimized as a Capitol tour. Yes, some were just taking selfies, but others were assaulting law enforcement, had zip ties, and chanted threats — not to mention theft and property damage.
Still, those on the left shouldn't exaggerate it as similar to the Civil War, as when Pelosi actually claimed the rioters "nearly succeeded in overthrowing a presidential election" and the "future of our democracy is on the line."
More should be learned about the profound security breakdown so it doesn't happen again, but a bipartisan Senate report by two committees, citing across-the-board intelligence breakdowns, provided much of the information House Democrats claim they want to investigate.
Instead, Pelosi scuttled any chance for a bipartisan probe with a credible outcome by whittling the makeup of the committee down to seven Democrats and Republican Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.).
The select committee will likely be a partisan blaming and finger-pointing session with a final report lacking any public confidence. That was certainly an avoidable outcome.