GOP Rep. Stefanik mocks Schiff, reads his tweets and interviews about whistleblower testimony
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., took some public swipes at Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., mocking him at Friday's impeachment hearing by reading old tweets from when the House Intelligence Committee chairman vowed to have the Ukraine whistleblower testify before his panel.
Stefanik read aloud Schiff’s tweets -- as well as quotes from news reports and television appearances -- where Schiff said that the whistleblower, who remains anonymous, would testify. Schiff has since denied requests for that individual to come forward, calling the potential testimony “redundant” and “unnecessary” last week.
WHITE HOUSE DENIES WITNESS INTIMIDATION
“The chairman refused to allow us to put these into the record with unanimous consent,” Stefanik, R-N.Y., said. “As we know, it is important to protect whistleblowers from retaliation and firing…but in this case, the fact that we are getting criticized for statements he, himself, made earlier in the process shows the duplicity and abuse of power we see.”
At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That call prompted a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House.
On the call, Trump pressed Zelensky to open an investigation into Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a "quid pro quo" arrangement.
Schiff said in September that the whistleblower would appear before Congress “very soon,” but in recent weeks, has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.
Republicans involved in the impeachment inquiry have included the whistleblower on their list of proposed witnesses. Schiff has blasted GOP members for the request and has said that the whistleblower will not appear for testimony as part of the inquiry.
Earlier in the hearing, Schiff repeatedly shut down Stefanik, citing House procedure, as she attempted to question former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“This is the fifth time you have interrupted a duly-elected member of Congress,” Stefanik told Schiff, who repeatedly told her she was “not recognized” to speak.
The confrontation began when committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., yielded the remainder of his allotted time for questioning Yovanovich to Stefanik, who had sparred multiple times with Schiff during both hearings.
But as Stefanik spoke, Schiff slammed down the gavel: "The gentlewoman will suspend."
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"What is the interruption for now?" she shot back.
What followed was a back and forth between Nunes and Schiff as to whether the Republican could offer his time to a fellow member of Congress, rather than minority counsel. Stefanik repeatedly tried to speak, only for Schiff to bang his gavel again.
"You're gagging the member from New York?" Nunes laughed at one point.
Fox News' Adam Shaw and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.