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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who a little over two months ago led Democrats’ prosecution in President Trump’s impeachment trial following an extensive investigation, is working to launch a new review concerning the administration’s actions -- this time calling for a nonpartisan commission on the government's coronavirus response.
Schiff, D-Calif., after repeatedly criticizing the president’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Wednesday he would work to create a panel to review the government's actions and readiness.
“After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes,” Schiff tweeted.
“Once we’ve recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic,” he continued. “I’m working on a bill to do that.”
Schiff swiftly faced criticism for the move, with Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Rep. Devin Nunes accusing him of a "dumb stunt."
"His Russia collusion hoax failed, his Ukraine scam failed, and his efforts to cover up FISA abuse failed," Nunes, R-Calif., told Fox News on Wednesday. "So, Schiff is launching yet another dumb stunt to justify his never-ending media relations operation."
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also said in a statement: “The same people who delayed the Coronavirus relief bill because they demanded giveaways for special interests and millions for the Kennedy Center now want to create a commission to attack the Trump Administration’s response? Give me a break. And the person who is leading this effort is Adam Schiff -- the same Adam Schiff who released the phone records of the President’s personal attorney, a journalist, and a sitting Member of Congress. We should focus on stopping the virus, not politicizing the crisis.”
The intelligence committee chairman has led multiple Trump-focused probes, including the House impeachment inquiry and investigations into whether members of the president's campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, the president's financial transactions, and more.
Schiff also shared an opinion column written by The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, titled “The U.S. needs to know what went wrong.”
According to the column, Schiff and his staff have “already started” working on a commission modeled on the one created after 9/11 and will be “talking about the possibility with others in Congress.”
The column also said that Schiff “has begun reviewing the committee’s intelligence materials on the pandemic.”
“We will need to delay the work of the commission until the crisis has abated to ensure that it does not interfere with the agencies that are leading the response,” Schiff reportedly told Ignatius. “But that should not prevent us from beginning to identify where we got it wrong and how we can be prepared for the next pandemic.”
As of midday Wednesday, the U.S. reported more than 203,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 4,360 deaths.
Schiff, in recent days, has slammed Trump, saying: "You cannot count on Donald Trump to do what’s right for this country."
"You can count on him to do what’s right for Donald Trump," Schiff tweeted.
Meanwhile, Trump and the White House coronavirus task force have pleaded with Americans to abide by the administration’s extended social distancing guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19.
This week, the president himself told Americans to brace for “a very painful two weeks and warned of thousands more virus-related deaths.
“The surge is coming, and it’s coming pretty strong,” Trump said Tuesday night, in a change of tone from previous press briefings.
“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said. “As a nation, we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”
The extension of the social distancing guidelines comes after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other public health officials ominously warned that even if the U.S. were to continue to do what it was doing -- keeping the economy closed and most Americans in their homes -- the coronavirus could still leave 100,000 to 240,000 people in the United States dead and millions infected.
Without any measures in place to mitigate the contagion's spread, those projections jump to between 1.5 and 2.2 million deaths from COVID-19.
“It is absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines,” Trump said during the briefing. “It’s a matter of life and death.”
The new “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines -- unveiled at the press conference -- are an extension of the strategy the White House implemented just over two weeks ago and include guidance on social distancing, working from home, washing hands frequently and avoiding any unnecessary travel.
Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.