"The author of the Schiff Report is not here," House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) observed at Monday morning's public impeachment hearing against President Trump.
"I guess that's what you get when you're making up impeachment as you go," he said.
Schiff's absence spoke volumes this morning, particularly since he is the guy who led the first round of impeachment inquiry hearings last month. For a point of emphasis, Republicans set up a sign at today's hearing asking "Where's Adam?" As you can see, it was featured pretty prominently.
New GOP sign today: “Where’s Adam?” pic.twitter.com/PoUAlKyhpn— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 9, 2019
Collins noted that Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes and his staff had managed to show up. So why not Schiff?
"Guess he can’t back up his own report," Collins said.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) presented a point of order after Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler's opening statement to ask when the chairman was going to schedule a minority hearing so they could question Schiff and a few other relevant individuals.
Here’s the list of witnesses that House Judiciary Republicans want to subpoena for testimony in the impeachment inquiry. Democrats effectively control whether they will get to testify, because @RepJerryNadler can back up his decision with a vote of the committee. pic.twitter.com/gVtve8l3IZ— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) December 6, 2019
"It’s imperative that Chairman Schiff testify before the committee and entertain questions from duly elected members of Congress,” the Republicans wrote. “At a minimum, he should testify about his report, just as Special Counsel Robert Mueller and independent counsel Ken Starr testified to this committee about their report.”
The GOP letter also noted that something these hearings have been lacking so far are fact witnesses. As such, they want to hear not only from Schiff and the whistleblower, but the individuals who the whistleblower relied upon to file his/her complaint against Trump. But Nadler rejected Biggs's point of order, claiming it was "not timely."
In his opening statement on Monday, Nadler repeated that, "President Trump put himself before the country" when he asked Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. If his colleagues would "drop their blinders for just one moment," then they would all understand that Trump used his office for "private gain," Nadler insisted.
"Where's the impeachable offense?" Collins asked, concluding this is the "focus group impeachment."
The ranking member reminded the panel that Schiff started the Intel Committee hearings by "making up" parts of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky.
"If he didn’t make it up, it didn’t sound as bad," Collins reasoned.