House GOP leaders are considering pursuing ethics charges against Democrat Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) for alleged misconduct he engaged in against Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) at an Intelligence Committee meeting on Wednesday morning.
“He was very rude,” Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) told Breitbart News on Wednesday evening of Maloney’s behavior towards Nunes and others during the committee meeting earlier in the day. “Members don’t question other members in hearings. This wasn’t on the agenda for the meeting. It was really inappropriate in my opinion, and pretty childish.”
Others familiar with the incident told Breitbart News that when a transcript of the incident—with the exact words of Maloney’s accusations and questions of Nunes during the meeting—becomes available, House GOP leadership lawyers familiar with parliamentary rules will consider bringing formal ethics charges against Maloney for his alleged misconduct toward Nunes during the meeting.
The standing rules of the House of Representatives make it such that one member cannot accuse another member of lying, and also cannot hurl insults at them. Depending on the exact wording of what Maloney said, when the transcript becomes available in the coming days, GOP lawyers may seek formal action against him by the House Ethics Committee.
The background of what led up to the Maloney incident is as follows: House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) is gearing up yet again to try to level more baseless accusations against allies of President Donald Trump, this time over packages that were sent to a number of Trump allies inside and outside of Congress during the lead-up to the House impeachment of Trump last year.
What’s more, the Democrats appear to have leaked classified information to Politico in order to weaponize the narrative to the media and are now engaged in over-the-top tactics that may be in violation of House ethics rules to boot.
In reality, however, the broader picture here—Nunes told Breitbart News–is that Schiff is doing the Russians’ bidding.
“They’re clearly conducting election interference right now, either wittingly or unwittingly on behalf of Vladimir Putin,” Nunes said in an interview on Wednesday evening. “Putin doesn’t have to do anything. He doesn’t have to run one real op. But they just run around ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ all the time. Well, they’re the ones doing it. They’re the ones who went to Russia to get information. Not Republicans. Republicans never went to Russia to get anything. Democrats did. Four years of disinformation, and they’ve been proven wrong all the time, and they’ve turned the committee into a dungeon of conspiracy theories. They don’t even do real work on Intel.”
Last week, Politico reported leaked details—including citing what it said was classified information, which is illegal to leak—about supposed packets of information sent to congressional allies of Trump last year to hurt presumptive Democrat nominee former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Top congressional Democrats are sounding the alarm about a series of packets mailed to prominent allies of President Donald Trump — material they say is part of a foreign disinformation plot to damage former vice president Joe Biden, according to new details from a letter the lawmakers delivered to the FBI last week,” Politico’s Natasha Bertrand, Kyle Cheney, and Andrew Desiderio wrote.
In the second paragraph of the article, the Politico scribes revealed what they said was classified information. Politico wrote:
The packets, described to Politico by two people who have seen the classified portion of the Democrats’ letter, were sent late last year to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and then-White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. The packets were sent amid a Democratic push to impeach Trump over his effort to pressure Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden and his son Hunter the sources said. Graham and Grassley denied having received the material, and Mulvaney and Nunes declined repeated requests for comment. One person familiar with the matter said the information was not turned over to the FBI. The FBI declined to comment.
Members of Congress, especially those on the Intelligence Committee, are regularly sent stuff from overseas powers. There exist a number of protocols, whereby staffers send such materials to the proper authorities for vetting.
“If you’re a Republican and you get on the Intelligence Committee, anything you get from a foreign country, it gets sent off to the proper authorities, and likely you would never even touch it or see it because the people who get the mail do that for us,” one member told Breitbart News. “That’s at the committee and your personal office and your district offices, and for sure your home.”
So while the latest attacks from Schiff seem like an interesting narrative or storyline from the establishment media, it is in reality fairly meaningless and mundane.
But all of a sudden Schiff called a committee meeting behind closed doors on Wednesday morning. There, a party-line vote was held to reveal certain pieces of the information about these packages to the whole Congress. But then things got ugly when Maloney began verbally accosting Nunes—the GOP ranking member—and hurling insults at him and at Republicans in general.
While Maloney’s office has not replied to a request for comment telling his side of the story, Republicans like Crawford were quick to come out and point out how out of line they think the top Democrat ally of Schiff was behaving during this exchange.
“He just kind of kept on the issue of these alleged items being sent to the committee,” Crawford told Breitbart News. “So obviously Devin Nunes didn’t comment on that. Here’s the thing: it’s standard practice that if you get a package from unknown source in a foreign country, it’s probably a good idea to call the FBI and let them handle it and not handle those packages and don’t open them and go, ‘Hey I wonder what this is? I guess it’s Christmas came early this year.’ No, you follow the protocol, which is you turn that over to the FBI. That’s what happened.”
Crawford added that Maloney seemed to be, at Schiff’s direction, trying to “goad” Nunes and Republicans into some kind of response that would then be weaponized and leaked. “It was mostly trying to goad … particularly Ranking Member Nunes, but also our side writ large, trying to goad us into making a comment,” Crawford said. “The thing is you don’t want to engage. It’s like trolls on social media. They want the attention and so you don’t want to give it to them.”
Then, if they said something, Schiff’s team would turn around and leak it to the press before it came out when the transcript of the meeting would eventually be made public.
“That’s the whole point, and that’s what this committee has devolved into under Schiff’s leadership—or lack of leadership would be the better term,” Crawford said. “It’s purely turned into an oppo research arm for the DCCC and more. This is an important committee, and it has a long history of acting in a bipartisan way, but Schiff has broken that.”
Crawford added that Schiff and his allies like Maloney behaving like this on the committee means that HPSCI, which is supposed to focus on intelligence threats to the United States, is now a laughingstock shell of its former glory.
“We’ve got a lot of threats, a very diverse threat matrix that exists around the world, and what have we been able to do in this committee under his leadership?” Crawford said. “Virtually nothing, and that’s because he’s been so focused on political advances and trying to position himself and take down Trump that they haven’t done anything even remotely related to intelligence and everything we’re charged with in that committee. It’s a mockery, it’s a complete travesty, and this is why the American people need to know this is how bad his tenure has been – would continue to be – if he were allowed to continue in that position.”
The Federalist’s Sean Davis on Wednesday published a deep dive debunking this latest scandal. His piece goes into depth about it all. But asked in a brief interview on Wednesday evening about the whole thing, Nunes told Breitbart News this is just the latest example of Schiff and his allies cooking up more nonsense within 100 days of the election.
“They never stop,” Nunes said. “The Democrats never stop with conspiracy theories and politicization of intelligence. They just read through intelligence reports to decide what they can leak to tie something back to Russia. The irony of this is they’re the ones who colluded with Russians. It wasn’t us. In 2016, they’re the ones who did it. You can’t even make this up. It’s so wacko. They just continue to push conspiracy theories that are nothing more, nothing less than that. How many times do they have to get busted on this? We have receipts of them doing it. We have court documents of them doing it. We have plenty of declassified information now from Horowitz and everywhere else that they were the ones doing this. They won’t give up trying to cover up what they were doing in 2016—and they’re doing it right now.”
Nunes added he believes the Democrat playbook will fail again, just like it did in 2016.
“They’re doing the same thing again,” Nunes said. “They’re running the same playbook as they did in 2016 over again. It’s pretty obvious. But we’re onto them this time. But all we can do is talk to people like you and say, ‘Hey just go back and look at the last four years. They were the ones colluding with Russia, not us.’”