In his opening statement at the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) accused Democrats of conducting "a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign" against President Donald Trump, and called out House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for denying key Republican witness requests.
"In a July open hearing of this committee following publication of the Mueller report, the Democrats engaged in a last-ditch effort to convince the American people that President Trump is a Russian agent. That hearing was the pitiful finale of a three-year-long operation by the Democrats, the corrupt media, and partisan bureaucrats to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election. After the spectacular implosion of their Russia hoax on July 24, in which they spent years denouncing any Republican who ever shook hands with a Russian, on July 25 they turned on a dime and now claim the real malfeasance is Republicans' dealings with Ukraine," Nunes said.
"In the blink of an eye, we're asked to simply forget about Democrats on this committee falsely claiming they had 'more than circumstantial evidence' of collusion between President Trump and the Russians. We should forget about them reading fabrications of Trump-Russia collusion from the Steele dossier into the congressional record. We should also forget about them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials. We should forget about them leaking a false story to CNN, while he was still testifying to our committee, claiming Donald Trump Jr. had colluded with Wikileaks, and forget about countless other deceptions, large and small, that make them the last people on earth with the credibility to hurl more preposterous accusations at their political opponents. And yet now we're supposed to take these people at face value when they trot out a new batch of allegations. But anyone familiar with the Democrats' scorched-Earth war against President Trump would not be surprised to see all the typical signs that this is a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign," he continued.
"Despite this hypocrisy, the Democrats are advancing their impeachment sham. But we should not hold any hearings at all until we get answers to three crucial questions the Democrats are determined to avoid asking ...These questions will remain outstanding because Republicans were denied the right to call witnesses who know these answers," added Nunes.
Watch the full opening statement below:
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