Last week Washington D.C. and the media complex were in a collective uproar over events in the House of Representatives. A couple of dozen GOP members, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. held an impromptu press conference and then staged a sit-in where Adam Schiff was conducting a closed-door hearing.
As the expected voices of outrage and condemnation rained down, Gaetz did not waver in his stance that what has been taking place is Adam Schiff controlling the investigation and not allowing for full disclosure. The congressman sat in with MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson, and while the hostess challenged Gaetz on his actions, he did not allow her to control the narrative. It became a revealing exchange, in which Gaetz had to correct the record as it was being manipulated on air.
“I haven’t heard you say anything since Bill Taylor testified," challenged Jackson. “Yes or no, is it OK for any politician to trade military aid for political favors?” she asked. Gaetz did not equivocate. “Look, I’m not going to get into the specifics of the Taylor deposition because I wasn’t present for it,” he replied.
This is a significant detail. Adam Schiff has not allowed the full House to have access to the deposition, yet here is a member of the press moving forward with details. It illustrates the manner in which Schiff has been limiting access to witnesses and controlling what information is leaked to the media.
Jackson worked the angle of that leaked intel, trying to pin down Gaetz on testimony supposedly received by Schiff on the committee. Gaetz was not playing along. “From the selective witnesses Adam Schiff provided who aren’t subject to cross-examination. Like you’re playing the game here. You’re playing the game where they selectively leak stuff that is not subject to cross-examination. Rigorous review. Check against documents and timelines.”
Hallie Jackson came back with the common spin heard on the Hill from Democrats and journalists: She commented how Republicans were on the panel and were permitted to ask cross-examination questions. Gaetz noted to her that while true, the results of those Republican queries are not made known.
“And that is all by design. It is not an accident that you and I are having this interview on terms that are very favorable to the Adam Schiff theory of the case,” said the Florida politician. “When John Ratcliffe asked questions that I think poked holes in the allegations that Taylor made, we don’t get the benefit of those. They weren’t leaked, and they weren’t in front of the American people -- and that’s the problem.”
This is the entire basis behind the group of GOP members who came into the hearing chambers last week. While the hearings are taking place according to practice, the results of those hearings and the questioning is not being made available, per Adam Schiff’s directive. This is a detail that was exposed after the sit-in that took place.
Matt Gaetz’s fellow House member Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex. illustrated just how the information is being locked down. He first noted this section from the House Rules and Manual that details the accessibility of these impeachment inquiry hearings. As it reads: “Such records shall be the property of the House and each Member, Delegate, and the Resident Commissioner shall have access hereto.”
Crenshaw then documented his attempt to actually gain access to the records. He was rebuffed from that attempt, and told “The Schiff Rule” was in place, which declares wrongly that only committee members will have access to that information.
Crenshaw has actually spoken with GOP members of the committee and had it explained how they too have attempted to obtain these documents, and even they have been prevented from gaining access. So Schiff is completely controlling the information flow from these hearings, and doing so in violation of House rules.
“Where is the transparency?” Crenshaw asks rhetorically. “There’s none.”
At least there are a few Republicans on The Hill willing to cut through the gamesmanship and expose the sham that these impeachment meetings are becoming at the hands of Adam Schiff.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.