Appearing Thursday on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow, House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) unloaded on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) handling of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, stating “75 percent of the entire Congress” are in the dark about the closed-door probe.
A transcript is as follows:
ALEX MARLOW: [House Republicans] went full Breitbart yesterday storming [House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA)] secret chamber. We’ve been calling it “Schiff’s dungeon.” This is still a very serious thing. I really admire the new tactic. What compelled you guys in the Congress to decide that enough’s enough, we’re actually going to physically take matters into our own hands?
HOUSE MINORITY WHIP REP. STEVE SCALISE: Well, that was it. We’ve had enough of Adam Schiff running this Soviet-style star chamber, because only in the Soviet Union would you have a process where they are trying to impeach a duly elected president in secret, behind closed doors. You can’t go in, the press can’t go in, and voting members of Congress can’t go in. About 75 percent of the entire Congress, who was duly elected, is not allowed in that room. Yet, [Schiff’s] trying to use whatever he’s producing in there to bee the basis to impeach a President of the United States. It’s never been done before and we shouldn’t stand for it. We wanted to go in and see what was happening. We didn’t try to go in to disrupt things, we wanted to actually just go look.
MARLOW: I love the comparison to the Soviets, because that is what this is like, and [Demcrats] are the ones constantly accusing us of being Russians pawns, even though we’ve been so tough on Russia. Overall, this president has been tough on Russia. We’re tough on Russia at Breitbart and they want to act like we’re Russian stooges. They are taking the Soviet tactics, so it’s a great way to describe it. Why are they hiding from the people?
HOUSE MINORITY WHIP REP. SCALISE: That’s a great question, and they haven’t answered it, by the way. It was amazing how, when we walked into the room, I found a chair and sat down in the back of the room. I had never seen how they set up a meeting before, but they are all just sitting around a table and at the end of the table is Adam Schiff and a witness. Adam starts talking to his lawyers, I’m sure he’s trying to figure out how to get us out of the room, and we’re just sitting there watching. Again, we were just watching him. He literally gets the witness and runs out of the room, which is very telling. What do they have to hide?
He himself at the beginning of the meeting said it was not a classified briefing. The whole purpose of that room, called it the SCIF, is you have classified briefs in a classified setting. This wasn’t a classified briefing, this was with a DOD official. We had members of the Armed Services committee in that room, who had come into the room, and they wanted to hear what was going on with this DOD official, and they weren’t even allowed into the room. When Adam took the witness and rushed out of the room, it said a lot. It said clearly they’re hiding something. They are trying to create a document that’ll ultimately be a tainted document. This is going to be important because what they are doing is producing a document to be the basis of impeaching the president and it’s done in secret. It’s done where only they call the witnesses.
Only Adam Schiff calls the witnesses. We have witnesses on our side that we would like to call. Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Mike McCaul have a list of witnesses. They are not allowed to bring witnesses forward. When Adam Schiff produces this document, it will be based on people he wanted to bring in and, in many cases, like the whistleblower, people who had a political bias against President Trump. Can you imagine that? If you don’t like the results of the 2016 election, you can go in secret and whisper something to Adam Schiff, he’ll whisper it to the media, they’ll write bad stories, and be completely debunked by the White House days later. But at that point, it’s too late, the damage is done.
MARLOW: Sure. We all know now in the court of public opinion is so much more powerful right now then legal courts at this point. This is all designed to move people’s minds, and we’re coming in on an election year. It’s also clearly political from start to finish. Let’s talk about the fact that you noted this is unprecedented. Put some meat behind that for me, because this is one where people are curious. Were past impeachment inquiries — there were three inquiries and two impeachments in the past, because Nixon resigned quickly. Why is this different from anything we’ve ever seen in the country before?
HOUSE MINORITY WHIP REP. SCALISE: This isn’t something that happens all the time, as you noted. Only three times in the history of our country has this power that the Constitution gives the power to impeach and remove a President of the United States. Andrew Johnson, we didn’t have TV cameras back then, but there was a vote of the House, the full House before they started an impeachment inquiry against the inquiry, then the exact thing happened when they moved to impeach Richard Nixon, where the House had a full vote to start the process. In fact, then they set up formal rules, where both sides could call witnesses. Not the majority, not just the Democrats, but both sides.
The president could have legal counsel in the room to question the witnesses that were trying to take the president down. That was the Nixon standard. When they had the Clinton impeachment, reverse the parties, Republican president and House Democrat Majority, they used the Nixon standard, which was both sides can call witnesses. The White House can have a lawyer in the room to question witnesses. That didn’t happen, no vote in the house. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) just decreed an impeachment inquiry and gave the power to Adam Schiff. It was always the [House] Judiciary Committee that ran things, but now Adam Schiff is running things behind closed doors. That was never done before. There were TV cameras in the room for Nixon, by the way. For young viewers, you can watch the Nixon videos. People watch them. You also watched the Clinton proceedings. [Schiff’s] not allowing anybody to watch. 75 percent of the voting Congress is not allowed in that room to see what’s going on.
MARLOW: You ran point on the storming of the SCIF, Schiff’s bunker, with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Give me what’s coming next and what details we need to know. This seems like a really emphatic effort against this secret impeachment.
HOUSE MINORITY WHIP REP. SCALISE: Our members are really angry about this and want to highlight what’s going on. They want to stop this Soviet-style process. If they are going to impeach the president, do it in clear view. Everybody ought to be held accountable. Don’t hide behind one guy, Adam Schiff, and all these other members who want to have a justification for impeaching the president because they don’t like results of the 2016 election, are going to fall back on that in secret. We’re all elected members of Congress.
We get held accountable every two years for what we do. The things we do are done in public, not in secret. That’s got to stop, and we need to continue to highlight it. People back home know, too. One of the good things yesterday is that the press actually paid attention for the first time to how bad a hijacked Soviet-style process this is. The more people that find out what’s going on in Washington right now, people are shocked when they hear this. But more people need to hear this, so we need to keep making sure we highlight what’s going on in Washington to people back home who are wondering, and in many cases, don’t even realize this is how [Schiff] is trying to impeach a President of the United States.
MARLOW: Give me your first three things you would do if this was a fair process.
HOUSE MINORITY WHIP REP. SCALISE: Both sides get to call witnesses. And the White House, the people you are accusing of a crime, which they never laid out any evidence of, give the person you’re accusing the opportunity to have legal counsel in the room, so in many cases, they can dispute or rebut what’s being claimed by somebody with a political bias against that president. That’s fairness. The American people believe in fairness and that’s what our system of government is about. We’re not a Soviet-style system, where the government could come in and literally take you out if they don’t like you.
Author: Joshua Caplan