Schiff Impeachment Inquiry Secrecy Is a Modern Star Chamber


by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D., The New American:

Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.; shown) is bypassing the Constitution altogether in his quest to impeach President Donald Trump.

Schiff is a Harvard Law School graduate that was tapped by Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to be the head of an inquiry into whether the president’s dealings with Ukraine rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

In response, Republicans will sponsor on Monday a resolution censuring Schiff for manufacturing “a false retelling of the conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky [of Ukraine]” that “had no relationship to the call itself.” The resolution also states:

Whereas, these actions of Chairman Schiff misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties;

Whereas, for more than two years, Chairman Schiff has spread false accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia;

Whereas, on March 20, 2017, then-Ranking Member Schiff read out false allegations from the Steele dossier accusing numerous Trump associates of colluding with Russia;

Whereas, then-Ranking Member Schiff falsely claimed in a March 2017 interview to have ‘‘more than circumstantial evidence’’ of collusion with Russia;

Whereas, then-Ranking Member Schiff negotiated with Russian comedians whom he believed to be Ukrainian officials to obtain materials to damage the President of the United States politically;

Whereas, according to a New York Times article on October 2, 2019, Chairman Schiff’s committee staff met with the whistleblower prior to the filing of his complaint and staff members communicated the content of the complaint to Chairman Schiff;

Whereas Chairman Schiff concealed his dealings with the whistleblower from the rest of the Intelligence Committee, and when asked directly in a television interview whether he had any contact with the whistleblower, he lied to the American people and said, ‘‘we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.’’

Whereas members of the Intelligence Committee have lost faith in his objectivity and capabilities as Chairman, with every Republican member on the Committee having signed a letter calling for his immediate resignation as Chairman;

Whereas Chairman Schiff has hindered the ability of the Intelligence Committee to fulfill its oversight responsibilities of the Intelligence Community, an indispensable pillar of our national security.

The resolution against Schiff is sponsored by Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who wrote in an op-ed published by Fox News, “Rep. Adam Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the leftists who are attacking President Trump — and by extension everyone who voted for and supports him — have managed to sink to a new low. On the scale of credibility, they are a minus-10. If they yelled fire, you would stay seated.”

Biggs goes on to describe Schiff’s inquiry as a “witch hunt,” and states that Schiff has “dissembled about whether he or his staff met with the whistleblower leaker before an official complaint was filed. He is not following the rules of the House. He has excluded some members of the House from sitting in on the proceedings, and he now has said that the whistleblower will not be called to testify.”

Biggs is right.

While Schiff is certainly within the bounds of the powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to inquire into the president’s behavior and whether that behavior rises to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” he is not authorized by the Constitution to conduct secret meetings that exclude representatives who oppose his efforts to remove the president.

Due process is an aspect of Anglo-American justice that is of ancient date and is critical to the concept of justice.

According to the reports of the running of his “inquiry,” much of what Schiff is doing sounds very similar to the Star Chamber, an English court of the 14th to 17th centuries that met in secret, with no record of indictments, no identification of witnesses, and no transcript of the proceedings.

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