Rep. Doug Collins: Schiff is ‘first and foremost witness’ for next stage in impeachment

December 2, 2019

As chairman of House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff is used to asking questions — but if Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) has his way, the California Democrat will soon be among those answering them instead.

Collins is the senior Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, which is where the next phase of the impeachment drama is about to play out. On a recent episode of Fox News Sunday, he told host Chris Wallace about the witnesses he would like to see called.

“My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff,” Collins said, according to The Hill. “[Schiff] has put himself into that position… If he chooses not to [testify], then I really have to question his veracity in what he’s putting in his report.

“It’s easy to hide behind a report,” the GOP lawmaker continued. “But it’s going to be another thing to actually get up and have to answer questions.”

Collins on Trump: “He did nothing improper”

For his part, Wallace had questions of his own — specifically about whether President Donald Trump acted properly during his July telephone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In particular, Wallace wanted to know about claims that Trump made the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine contingent on investigations of possible corruption in that country involving Joe and Hunter Biden.

Former Ukrainian prosecutor Victor Shokin has said in a sworn affidavit that he was fired under pressure from then-Vice President Biden because he was investigating Burisma, the energy company that employed Biden’s son.

Indeed, Biden openly bragged at a Council on Foreign Relations event about how he had forced Shokin out by using American aid as leverage.

“Before we get to the question of whether this is an impeachable offense or not, simply, do you see anything wrong with that? The president conditioning support for Ukraine — whether it was a meeting with Zelensky, whether it’s military aid — conditioning support for Ukraine to that country investigating some of the president’s political rivals?” Wallace asked.

False premise

“Well, I think it’s interesting that the premise of your question is based on witnesses who agree with your premise,” Collins responded, contending that he, in fact, rejected the very foundation of Wallace’s query. He went on:

I disagree and say that Mr. [Kurt] Volker, Mr. [Tim] Morrison, even Mr. [Gordon] Sondland — who presumed it was being conditioned — the president himself told Senator [Ron] Johnson there was no pre-condition; there was nothing to be presented on this. So, if you want to show one side, then also show the other side as we go along with this.

Collins held firm against Wallace’s primary line of questioning, saying that he was “not going to answer a hypothetical which is designed to simply say that the president did something improper,” Collins stated.

The Georgia congressman went on to stress that in his estimation, Trump “did nothing improper.”

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Adam Peters

Adam Peters is a Conservative Institute staff writer.