In a rare move, the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee boycotted a hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning, saying that Chairman Adam Schiff has “strayed” from conducting business relevant to the panel, including by failing to hold a hearing over the Justice Department inspector general’s report on FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“Under your chairmanship, the House Intelligence Committee has strayed far from its mandate of overseeing the Intelligence Community,” the Republicans wrote in a letter to Democrats obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation just before the start of a hearing for the Strategic Technology and Advanced Research Subcommittee.
“In fact, we have gone months at a time in which we’ve hardly held any oversight-related briefings or hearings at all,” they wrote.
All nine Republicans on the panel signed the letter to Schiff, a California Democrat.
“Until the Committee prioritizes oversight activities related to urgent and critical concerns, Republican Members cannot support distractions from our core responsibilities,” they wrote.
They cited Schiff’s failure to hold a hearing to discuss the Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report released on Dec. 9, 2019 that laid out a series of failures at the FBI during its investigation of the Trump campaign.
The intelligence panel began an investigation similar to the FBI’s in early 2017 into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Neither investigation found evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Kremlin. (RELATED: DOJ Concedes That Two Of Its FISAs On Carter Page Are ‘Not Valid’)
The FBI and House intelligence Democrats relied heavily on the Democratic-funded Steele dossier for their investigations, but the IG report found significant problems with the salacious document.
The Republicans also slammed Wednesday’s hearing as a “publicity event.”
The topic of the hearing is the development of artificial intelligence for the purposes of national security of the U.S. and allied countries.
Republicans asserted that other House committees are capable of holding hearings on the issue.
“There are numerous Committees in the House of Representatives that may conduct public hearings on emerging science and technology matters; the House Intelligence Committee should focus on critical issues we are uniquely postured to address,” they said.
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