“Rep. Schiff has an ethics problem. His and his staff’s irregular communications with anti-Trump witnesses reflect poorly on the credibility of the House and its committees’ investigations,” explained Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“It has long been apparent that Rep. Schiff can’t be trusted to lead the Intelligence Committee, so we hope that Democrats on the Ethics Committee stop protecting Mr. Schiff and take action.”
The complaint stems from Schiff’s contacts with two congressional witnesses: Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS and Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for President Trump.
“The complaint asks that Rep. Schiff, who is the new chairman of the House Intelligence Community, be investigated in connection with recent revelations that he met with Simpson in Aspen, Colorado, in July 2018 and that he and his staff coordinated with Michael Cohen on Cohen’s recent testimony to congressional committees. Cohen’s testimony is alleged to be false in several important respects,” Judicial Watch explains.
It’s not the first time Schiff’s ethics have raised questions.
Judicial Watch filed a similar complaint in 2018 against Schiff and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., for improperly confirming classified information in violation of House rules.
The committee has not yet acted on that ethics lapse.
The letter charges Schiff broke House Code of Official Conduct, Rule 23, clauses 1 and 2, by inappropriately communicating with witnesses.
Judicial Watch explained: “Rep. Adam Schiff attended the Aspen Security Forum conference in July 2018, which was also attended by Glenn Simpson, the founder of the firm Fusion GPS. Press reports have detailed evidence of a meeting and discussion between Rep. Schiff and Glenn Simpson at the July 2018 Aspen Security Forum. As noted in The Hill newspaper: ‘At the time of the encounter, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee probe who had given sworn testimony about alleged, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.'”
Simpson’s company is the political opposition-research company that commissioned the “dossier” of unsubstantiated claims about Donald Trump that was used to obtain a warrant to spy on his campaign.
“The July 2018 contacts between Rep. Schiff and Mr. Simpson create, at a minimum, the appearance of impropriety. As a result of Rep. Schiff’s previously undisclosed, private discussions with Mr. Simpson, the public’s confidence in Mr. Schiff’s ability to objectively and impartially carry out his duties as Committee Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have been gravely damaged,” the group said.
Then there are Schiff’s exchanges with Cohen.
“President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen told House investigators this week that staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., traveled to New York at least four times to meet with him for over 10 hours immediately before last month’s high-profile public testimony, according to two sources familiar with the matter – as Republicans question whether the meetings amounted to coaching a witness,” the report said.
“The sources said the sessions covered a slew of topics addressed during the public hearing before the oversight committee – including the National Enquirer’s ‘Catch and Kill’ policy, American Media CEO David Pecker and the alleged undervaluing of President Trump’s assets.”
Schiff’s actions have combined to create “the appearance of unethical collusion and synchronization of efforts that calls into question whether Cohen’s testimony was a legitimate congressional hearing or well-rehearsed political theater,” Judicial Watch said.
Schiff’s “pattern of conduct raise alarms about prejudice and harm to the public’s confidence in the House, the group said.
“We call upon the [ethics committee] to investigate Rep. Schiff and his previously undisclosed, inappropriate contact with key witnesses in congressional investigation over which that member holds significant sway.”