House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., cut off Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., during Wednesday’s public hearing in the House impeachment inquiry as the Republican lawmaker tried to bring up Schiff’s controversial parody of President Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president.
“I would like to enter into the record the transcript from the July 25 call between President Trump and President Zelensky,” Stefanik said. “You yourself, Mr. Chairman, have mischaracterized the call.”
Schiff quickly interjected.
“The gentlewoman will suspend,” he said. “By unanimous consent, I’d be happy to enter the record into the record.”
Schiff, who is leading one of the committees investigating Trump in the impeachment inquiry announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been under fire from conservatives for the “parody” of the president’s call with Zelensky, which he read at a hearing in September that featured testimony from Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
Maguire was on Capitol Hill to defend his handling of the whistleblower complaint, which contains allegations related to Trump’s call with Zelensky in which the American president urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate alleged corruption involving the Bidens.
The White House last month released a memorandum of the phone call. The memo, which does not reflect a “verbatim transcript” but is based on “notes and recollections” of those memorializing the call, shows Trump suggesting Zelensky pursue some kind of investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.
On the dais during Maguire’s testimony, Schiff gave his own exaggerated version of the phone call.
“I have a favor I want from you,” Schiff said while appearing to read from a paper. “And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it, on this and on that.”
“My summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least, part, in parody,” Schiff said in response to criticism. “The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said, ‘If you don’t understand me I’m going to say it seven more times’. My point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words.”
Schiff’s explanation has done little to appease Republicans, who last month put forward a motion last month to censure the California Democrat.