Chaffetz: Schiff's impeachment rules are a 'travesty,' public hearings will be a 'circus'

House Democrats spearheading the impeachment inquiry against President Trump are "overreaching," Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz said Friday, arguing that the rules set up by the majority are a "farce."

In emails obtained Thursday by Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" show, it was revealed that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a key witness in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, communicated via her personal email account with a Democratic congressional staffer concerning a "quite delicate" and "time-sensitive" matter -- just two days after the whistleblower complaint that kickstarted the inquiry was filed, and a month before the complaint became public.

The emails appear to contradict Yovanovitch's deposition on Capitol Hill last month, in which she told U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., about an email she received Aug. 14 from the staffer, Laura Carey -- but indicated under oath that she never responded to it.


Appearing on "America's Newsroom" with host Sandra Smith, Chaffetz said what Democrats and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., are telling the world is "just simply not true."

"I think it's a circus and a show," he said. "Personally, I think that Democrats are doing this because they know that the Horowitz report and what the U.S. prosecutor [John] Durham is doing is very serious and I think those reports will come out."

Chaffetz said that all the details the American public need are in the transcript of President Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"I really don't care what other people have in terms of their opinion about what the president did in that call, but I find that the president did nothing wrong in that call," said Chaffetz.

In a letter penned late Wednesday to ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Schiff said that Republicans must justify the relevance of any witnesses they would want to call in public hearings as part of the probe.

Chaffetz told Smith that Schiff's actions to potentially block Republicans' witnesses "an absolute farce."


"The analogy I would use, Sandra, is a baseball team," he said. "Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff want to be the manager of both teams...That's not the way it works in the United States of America."

The rules, adopted last week, give Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses, with the concurrence of Democratic committee chairs. If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee.

The process still gives Democrats final say over witnesses, however, making it unlikely they can follow through on their plan to call Schiff to testify about his contact with the whistleblower.

Fox News' Gregg Re and "Tucker Carlson Tonight" investigative producer Alex Pfeiffer contributed to this report.