In an op-ed for Townhall this week, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said that with the Russian collusion witch hunt now in the rearview mirror, it was time for one of the Democratic Party’s chief conspiracy theorists to do the responsible thing…and resign. Gaetz said that Rep. Adam Schiff had a two-year record of spouting “false claims of collusion to anyone and everyone who would listen.” That record, he argued, is enough to recommend that Schiff be removed from his position as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“For over two years, Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, trumpeted false claims of collusion to anyone and everyone who would listen,” Gaetz wrote. “Without fact and without merit, he claimed there was ‘clear evidence of collusion.’ There was ‘evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion,’ he crowed, and not just any evidence — ‘ample evidence’ and ‘direct evidence.’”
“Naturally,” he continued, “Mr. Schiff couldn’t tell anyone what evidence existed to justify these wild allegations. When pressed about his allegations, he hid behind a veil of secrecy, claiming that he ‘could not go into particulars’ because he was privy to very sensitive information. Trump colluded with Russia, he told the media, and you’re going to have to take my word for it because I know information other people don’t.”
Gaetz said that while journalists could perhaps be forgiven for chasing this particular rabbit into a rabies-bat-infested hole, the stakes were a great deal higher when it came to a congressman in the position of Adam Schiff.
“Adam Schiff isn’t a journalist. He’s a congressman. More than that, he’s the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and a member of the ‘Gang of Eight’ — a select group of Congressional leaders that receives America’s most sensitive intelligence, including information so secret they cannot even relay it to other Members of Congress. To be entrusted with such sensitive data is a great obligation, and requires honesty, integrity, and discretion.”
Gaetz said that because Schiff had abused this access, he had a responsibility to resign his position as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“Schiff should admit he was wrong, and step down. But since he has shown no inclination to do so, I have introduced the PENCIL Act (Preventing Extreme Negligence with Classified Information Licenses), which, if enacted, would remove Rep. Schiff from the Intelligence Committee and revoke his security clearance. He can no longer be trusted in his position,” Gaetz concluded.
With Democrats in control of Congress, it is beyond unlikely that such a bill can gain traction (although the name is a masterpiece of trolling). Still, whether or not Gaetz is serious about taking legitimate steps to remove Schiff from his position, his stance on the issue is right on point. Schiff has taken the recklessness of former CIA Director John Brennan to a completely different level. If Brennan deserved to have his clearances revoked (and he did), then Schiff has no business with that information, either.