A former federal prosecutor who sits on the committee tasked by Democrats with removing President Donald Trump from office blasted Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as being unfit to oversee the process. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Tex., told The Federalist on Friday that Schiff’s problem isn’t mere partisan political bias, it’s that Schiff has a conflict of interest given his secret interactions with the anti-Trump whistleblower before his false complaint against Trump was even submitted.
“It’s more than just bias—it’s an actual legal conflict of interest,” Ratcliffe told The Federalist. “Schiff is using his authority as a Chairman presiding over an impeachment inquiry to prevent the investigation and discovery of facts about his own actions or the actions of his staff.”
“He is essentially a witness in the trial over which he is presiding,” Ratcliffe continued. “He has a conflict of interest because his testimony is relevant to the origins of the impeachment process that he is simultaneously conducting, directing and managing.”
Although Schiff initially claimed that he and his staff had never interacted with the anti-Trump complainant and didn’t even know who he was, the New York Times reported that the whistleblower secretly coordinated with Schiff’s Democratic staff, who then urged him to file a complaint against the president.
“The person who planted fake evidence shouldn’t be the one ruling on the admissibility of fake evidence,” Ratcliffe said on Friday.
“Despite initially denying any contact with the whistleblower, Schiff had already been briefed about at least one meeting between his staff and that individual prior to the filing of the complaint,” Ratcliffe said. “Material facts about the date, nature and extent of that meeting as well as any other contacts, communication or possible coordination between Chairman Schiff, his staff and the whistleblower were never disclosed by any of those parties to ICIG Michael Atkinson—facts confirmed in the sworn testimony of ICIG Atkinson which Chairman Schiff is refusing to release.”
Testimony by Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson revealed that the whistleblower, whom Real Clear Investigations has identified as former National Security Council (NSC) staffer and current Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst Eric Ciaramella, concealed his contacts with Schiff from the ICIG in his complaint form. If the anti-Trump complainant did, in fact, refuse to disclose previous disclosures of his allegations to Congress or the news media, he could be subject to felony criminal penalties for making false statements. The final portion of the whistleblower form requires whistleblowers to attest under penalty of perjury that they have neither misstated nor concealed material facts in their complaints.
“I certify that all of the statements made in this complaint (including any continuation pages) are true, complete, and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief,” whistleblowers are required to attest under penalty of perjury. “I understand that, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 1001, a false statement or concealment of a material fact is a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment for up to five years, or both.”
Schiff has refused to detail the breadth of his interactions with the anti-Trump complainant or explain why he lied about his staff’s collusion with the complainant. Ratcliffe told The Federalist that Schiff’s behavior was an “outrageous offense to legal due process.”
“Chairman Schiff has likewise refused to allow any inquiry by Republicans into these material facts which may bear on the credibility and motivation of the whistleblower and perhaps Chairman Schiff,” Ratcliffe said. “Republicans have been and continue to be deprived of the ability to investigate these material facts which can only be ascertained from the sworn testimony of Chairman Schiff, his staff and the whistleblower.”
“Chairman Schiff is a material fact witness in the same impeachment inquiry that Democrats have authorized him to preside over,” Ratcliffe continued. “It’s an outrageous offense to legal due process and any standard of fairness.”
Earlier this year, all nine Republican lawmakers on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence called on Schiff to step down as chairman due to his repeated lies about treasonous Russian collusion by the president.
“The findings of the Special Counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information, having damaged the integrity of this Committee, and undermined faith in U.S. government institutions,” they wrote.
“Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as Chairman of this Committee, which alone in the House of Representatives has the obligation and authority to provide effective oversight of the U.S. intelligence community,” they continued. “As such, we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your Constitutional responsibility and urge your immediate resignation as Chairman of this Committee.