House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) during an interview on Sunday recalled how Republicans tried to hold a public hearing on the China threat in mid-2018, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hijacked it to call for a subpoena of a Russian translator.
“The House Republicans have been running an investigation into China on the Intelligence Committee for many, many years…so we’ve been on this for awhile, and remember, we were dealing with the Russian hoax in Congress at the same time the House Republicans were trying to run an investigation into China,” he said on Fox and Friends.
“And the Democrats — finally we had a public hearing on this — and they hijacked the hearing to try to subpoena whatever Russian of the week they were looking after. So this has been a challenge for us, to get Russia on the forefront, and now, both Republicans and Democrats realize this,” he said.
Nunes was referring to the July 19, 2018, hearing on China held by Nunes, when he was the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. The hearing’s topic was “China’s threat to American government and private sector research and innovation leadership.”
During the hearing, then-Ranking Schiff began his opening remarks, not on China, but with his concerns about President Trump meeting alone with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, earlier that month, and then raised a motion to subpoena the interpreter who attended the meeting.
The hearing then devolved into confusion over whether Schiff was able to raise that motion, forcing Nunes to call for a recess. The witnesses — four top China experts — were left to talk to committee staff and among themselves, as Breitbart News reported at the time.
After the recess, Republicans voted to table the motion. Schiff demanded a recorded vote.
“Schiff has decided to turn this hearing into a Russia clown show,” a house staffer said.
Schiff, or his staff, later tweeted about his failed attempt to subpoena the interpreter at the China hearing.
“BREAKING: @RepSwalwell and I just made a motion in House Intel Committee to subpoena the American interpreter during the summit — the only witness to Trump’s meeting with Putin. This is an extraordinary remedy, but Trump’s actions necessitate it. Republicans voted it down.”
Republicans also say Democrats’ singular focus on impeaching Trump also distracted Congress earlier this year, when the coronavirus spread.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) scheduled a vote on impeachment articles on Trump the same day the first person from Wuhan, China, arrived to the United States, on January 15. She passed out commemorative signing pens and encouraged Americans to watch the House impeachment managers bring the articles over to the Senate.
The White House stood up its coronavirus task force on January 29, and ordered a ban on travel from China on January 31, the same day the World Health Organization acknowledged that the coronavirus was a global health emergency.
However, the Senate impeachment trial continued until February 5.