Florida GOP lawmaker Matt Gaetz has filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, alleging that he has mishandled an impeachment inquiry into President by by holding proceedings in secret.
The filing to the 10-member House Ethics Committee chaired by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) is rare, in that lawmakers tend not to file complaints against each other out of fear of retaliation.
Still, the filing reflects Republicans’ increasing ire over Schiff’s proceedings, in which he has summoned a series of witnesses to provide depositions regarding alleged misconduct by the president in his handling of a phone call in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In particular, Gaetz wants the Ethics Committee to investigate Schiff’s opening statement during the only public impeachment hearing thus far, in which he claimed he was delivering a parody account of the president’s call with Zelensky.
In addition, Gaetz wants the Ethics panel to investigate Schiff’s past statements in which the California Democrat claimed he had knowledge of evidence that President Trump colluded with Russia ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
“Chairman Schiff has abused his authority and seems to believe that the rules of the House of Representatives do not apply to him,” Gaetz said in a statement. “We cannot have a multi-tiered justice system in the United States or in the Congress. His egregious behavior must change immediately.”
The Florida Republican has attempted to gain access to the closed-door proceedings. He says that as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel that, in the past, has led the way on the few impeachment proceedings in modern history, he should be in on them.
Schiff, during his opening statement delivered Sept. 26, made several allegations regarding Trump but later said he was just engaged in a parody.
We’ve been very good to your country,” Schiff said, pretending to read the call transcript. “Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. 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.”
Gaetz himself is currently the subject of an Ethics Committee inquiry.
A complaint was filed by a Democrat-aligned political action committee that has accused him of using his Twitter account and role in Congress to threaten Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.