House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, traded heated words last month during a closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The subject of the argument? Not the facts of the inquiry, nor a parliamentary request, nor what witnesses were being called. It was about who got more facetime in front of the television cameras.
“The chairman should follow his own rules,” Jordan said during the deposition of former White House Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman. “Every single deposition, when it ends, you telI us, this is -- under the deposition rules we’re not supposed to go out and share information. But on Sunday, on a national news channel … you went on a Sunday show and directly quoted what that person said in his testimony.”
Jordan added: “Maybe you should follow what you telI us every single day when we leave these depositions, that we are not to go out and share substantive comments from the witness. And yet you did that just yesterday morning. Maybe that's the rule we need to be focused on.”
Schiff replied that “no one has appeared before the cameras more than you to discuss these proceedings.”
“I think you have well outdone me, Mr. Jordan, and will continue to do so."
The chairman went on to criticize Jordan’s defense of Trump and the White House directives for witnesses to ignore committee subpoenas. The subject of the deposition, Kupperman, was not in attendance, as he defied the subpoena. Jordan is not a ful-ltime member of the House Intelligence Committee but was added to it by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., before the impeachment inquiry began.
“I hope you realize that, that the short-term political advantage that you take in seeking this position will do long-term damage to the institution, to your credibility, to your ability to do oversight,” Schiff told Jordan.
Jordan retorted by claiming that Schiff knows who the person who filed the whistleblower complaint against Trump that prompted the impeachment inquiry. The complaint said that Trump possibly withheld a White House meeting, and possibly aid, unless the Ukrainian president announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over business dealings in the country.
“If we're going to talk about weakening this institution, we’re going to talk about the guy who had his staff talk with the whistleblower,” Jordan said.
Schiff has denied knowing who the identity of the whistleblower.
The testy exchange between Schiff and Jordan is part of a slew of transcripts released Tuesday by House Democrats the closed-door depositions in the impeachment inquiry.
Along with the transcripts from joint depositions of Deputy Associate Director for National Security Programs at the Office of Management and Budget Mark Sandy and Acting Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, the transcripts for those witnesses who were subpoenaed and failed to comply were also released.
Kupperman, who left the Trump administration when National Security Adviser John Bolton exited in September, had asked a federal court whether he should comply with the subpoena. A judge had scheduled a hearing for the matter in December, but House Democrats withdrew subpoena earlier this month.
Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.