U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, called out Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman, on Tuesday for pursuing publicity stunts in the wake of the Democrats’ failure to defeat President Trump through the Russia investigation.
“Cameras love a spectacle, and Democrats covet the chance to rant against this administration,” Collins said. “I’m pleasantly surprised to see the chairman hasn’t allowed fried chicken on the dais today.”
His comments came after Nadler opened a hearing in which he had scheduled the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn.
However, the Justice Department advised the White House that McGahn is immune to Nadler’s subpoena.
Nadler wants to grill McGahn about his testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller, who concluded after nearly two years and some $35 million that the Democrats claim of Trump campaign collusion with Russia is false.
Attorney General William Barr and others now are investigating how the Russia probe began. It apparently included the use of an unverified political opposition research document paid for partly by the Hillary Clinton campaign as evidence to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.
Collins mentioned fried chicken in reference to a Democrat on the committee who ate chicken in the hearing room to symbolize the charge that Barr chickened out by refusing to appear.
Nadler threatened he “will hold this president accountable, one way or the other.”
“Let me be clear: this committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it,” he declared. “We will not allow the president to prevent the American people from hearing from this witness.”
Collins, however, pointed out that Nadler’s actions don’t align with his threats.
“The chairman’s track record demonstrates he does not actually want information. He wants the fight, but not the truth. The closer he actually comes to obtaining information, the farther away he runs from it.”
He said the Democrats’ objective is to “provide damaging information against the president.”
“There is no legitimate legislative purpose here; it’s about embarrassing and harassing the president,” Collins said. “The Oversight Committee used a similar tactic three months ago when they invited Michael Cohen to testify, and that was an embarrassment for that committee and for Congress.”
The Republican congressman pointed out that the Mueller report concluded there was no collusion and no obstruction.
“Because the report failed to provide damning information against the president, Democrats claim we need to dig deeper — deeper than the two years of investigation conducted by what is considered a prosecutorial dream team — because that probe ended without criminal charges against the president or his family,” Collins said.
“The special counsel closed up shop without giving Democrats anything to deliver to their base,” he said.
Now, Democrats “are trying desperately to make something out of nothing, which is why the chairman haphazardly subpoenaed today’s witness.”
“The chairman orchestrated today’s confrontation when he could have avoided it, because he is more interested in fighting than fact-finding,” said Collins, pointing out that although more than 99 percent of the Mueller report is available to Congress, Nadler has not looked at it.
“Democrats claim they need today’s witness to investigate obstruction of justice, but that investigation was already done. Robert Mueller spent two years running it, and then closed it. We are not a prosecutorial body. We are a legislative one,” Collins said.