Adam Schiff, a Democratic representative, has been presented with an ethics complaint by the Center for Renewing America. The complaint accuses Schiff of repeatedly making false claims for several years, asserting that he possessed evidence of President Trump’s collaboration with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Center for Renewing America requests an immediate investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics and/or Committee on Ethics and the imposition of appropriate disciplinary measures, including Rep. Adam Schiff’s expulsion from the U.S. House of Representatives.
One of the key points mentioned in the complaint is Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s refusal, in January 2023, to appoint Schiff to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). This decision was based on Schiff’s misuse of HPSCI, which undermined its national security and oversight responsibilities while he served as the committee’s chair during the 116th and 117th Congress.
The complaint also references releasing a 300-page report by Special Counsel John Durham on May 15, 2023. The Durham Report exposed the Clinton campaign’s creation of untrue accusations regarding collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. Despite lacking evidence of collusion, these baseless claims were disseminated to media outlets, the intelligence community, and the FBI, leading to an investigation. CNN reported that “Special Counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI should never have launched the full Trump-Russia probe.”
Schiff is accused of being a staunch proponent of the fabricated collusion narrative propagated by the Clinton campaign. The complaint argues that Schiff’s unwavering commitment to perpetuating the Russia Hoax without regard for the truth repeatedly violated House Rule XXIII, which requires members to behave in a manner that reflects positively on the House.
Several examples of Schiff’s alleged violations are outlined in the complaint. One instance occurred on March 20, 2017, when Schiff read significant portions of the unverified Steele Dossier into the congressional record. The Durham Report confirmed that the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, failed to corroborate any of the substantive allegations, despite being offered substantial financial incentives by the FBI. Even Steele’s primary sub-source, a Russian national, characterized the information as mere “rumor and speculation.” Schiff’s actions are criticized for providing unwarranted legitimacy to the false claims within the dossier.
Another example discussed is Schiff’s televised interview on March 22, 2017. During the interview, he asserted that he possessed evidence beyond circumstantial that indicated collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Investigative reporter Jeff Gerth noted that Schiff did not offer any substantiation for his claim. Numerous subsequent investigations, including the Durham Report, failed to uncover evidence supporting Schiff’s assertion. The complaint accuses Schiff of abusing his position on HPSCI to mislead the American public.
Additionally, the complaint highlights an incident in which Schiff allegedly solicited explicit pictures of President Trump from two Russian pranksters posing as Ukrainian parliamentarians. Schiff’s subsequent claim that he reported the call to the proper authorities is deemed inconsistent with his actions, as records from February 2018 show that Schiff directed his staff to collect materials from the Ukrainian Embassy.
Furthermore, in February 2018, Schiff released a declassified version of a document known as the Schiff Memo. The memo strongly supported the DOJ and FBI’s choice to obtain surveillance through FISA on Carter Page. The complaint asserts that, as a former federal prosecutor and member of HPSCI, Schiff could not reasonably draw the conclusions presented in the memo from the available facts. The Department of Justice’s Inspector General later identified significant errors in the FISA applications related to Carter Page.
The complaint also references how Schiff’s staffers allegedly threatened university researchers to assist with an investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia. The researchers claimed they were invited for a briefing on their school’s federal research contracts but were pressured to analyze alleged links between Trump’s company and Russia’s Alfa Bank. When the researchers declined, the Democratic staffers, possibly acting under Schiff’s authority, made what one researcher perceived as a mild threat. Some people believe that this behavior breaks the law because it involves asking people to provide analysis without any payment, and those individuals may have been influenced by the staffers’ official responsibilities.
Additional examples cited include Schiff’s false statement about not directly speaking with the whistleblower during the first impeachment of President Trump, as analyzed by The Washington Post in October 2019. The complaint also mentions Schiff’s reaction to a report about Hunter Biden’s business activities that suggested the spreading of Russian disinformation. The complaint concludes that Schiff’s behavior discredits the House by violating Rule XXIII on multiple occasions.