Fact Check: No, Doug Collins Did Not Accuse Professor of Not Reading Transcripts

Pamela Karlan (Chip Somodevilla / Getty)
Chip Somodevilla / Getty

CLAIM: A Republican “insulted” legal experts by claiming they had not read transcripts of impeachment testimony.

VERDICT: False. He said they could not have “digested” Adam Schiff’s 300-page report from just one day before.

Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan was visibly angry in her opening statement at the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, as she accused Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) of having claimed that she and other witnesses had not read the transcripts of testimony or reports in the House’s ongoing impeachment inquiry.

“Here, Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing, because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts, so I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts,” Karlan said, exciting liberals on social media.

However, Collins never accused her of not reading the transcripts. He specifically said that he doubted whether the witnesses had “digested” the House Intelligence Committee’s 300-page report, which chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) had only released the day before, less than 24 hours before the Judiciary Committee hearing on the report.

Collins’s exact quote was:

What is really interesting over today, and for the next few weeks, is America will see why most people don’t go to law school. No offense to our professors. But please, really? We’re bringing you in here today to testify on stuff that most of you have already written about, all four, for the opinions that we already know, out of the classrooms that maybe you are getting ready for finals in, to discuss things that you probably haven’t even had a chance — unless are you are really good on TV of watching the hearings over the last couple weeks, you couldn’t have possibly actually digested the Adam Schiff report from yesterday or the Republican response [from Monday] in any real way.

Collins did not say they had not read the transcripts — he even allowed that they might have, if they are “really good” — but said that he doubted they could have “digested” Schiff’s 300-page report, with thousands of footnotes.

His remark was not aimed at the witnesses, but at the Democrats, for rushing the report and the hearing itself.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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