(CNSNews.com) - House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) fired back at the nine committee Republicans who urged him on Thursday to step down as chairman.
The fireworks began at the start of an Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian interference tactics.
Reading from a letter to Schiff, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) noted that despite the special counsel's findings and the findings of Republican committee members, Schiff has continued "to proclaim to the media that there is significant evidence of collusion."
Schiff also has said he will continue to investigate counter-intelligence issues involving President Trump and Russia. "Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming," Conaway said.
The findings of the special counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information.
Having damaged the integrity of this committee and undermined the faith in the United States government and its institutions, your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as chairman of this committee, which alone in the House of Representatives has the obligation and authority to provide effective oversight of the U.S. intelligence community.
As such, we have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your constitutional responsibility and urge your immediate resignation as chairman of the committee. Mr. Chairman, this letter is signed by all nine members of the Republican side of the committee, and I ask unanimous consent that it be entered into the record at today's hearing. I yield back.
Schiff told his Conaway and his Republican colleagues, "As you have chosen, instead of addressing the hearing, to simply attack me, consistent with the president's attacks, I do want to respond in this way:
Schiff then slammed the president for conduct he described as "immoral," "unethical," "unpatriotic," and "yes I think it's corrupt. And evidence of collusion," he added.
(President Trump on Thursday tweeted: "Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!")
Schiff's angry response to committee Republicans and President Trump is printed below:
My colleagues may think it's okay that the Russians offered dirt on a Democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the Russian government's effort to help the Trump campaign. You might think that's okay. My colleagues might think it's okay that when that was offered to the son of the president who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president's son did not call the F.B.I., he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help. No, instead that son said that he would love the help of the Russians.
You might think it's okay that he took that meeting. You might think it's okay that Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, someone with great experience in running campaigns, also took that meeting. You might think it's okay that the president's son-in-law also took that meeting. You might think it's okay they concealed it from the public; you might think it's okay that their only disappointment after that meeting was that the dirt they received on Hillary Clinton wasn't better. You might think that's okay.
You might think it's okay that when it was discovered a year later that they lied about that meeting and said it was about adoptions, you might think it's okay that the president is reported to have helped dictate that lie. You might think that's okay. I don't. You might think it's okay that the campaign chairman of a presidential campaign would offer information about that campaign to a Russian oligarch in exchange for money and debt forgiveness. You might think that's okay, I don't.
You might think it's okay that that campaign chairman offered polling data, campaign polling data, to someone linked to Russian intelligence. I don't think that's okay. You might think it's okay that the president himself called on Russia to hack his opponent's emails if they were listening. You might think it's okay that later that day in fact the Russians attempted to hack a server affiliated with that campaign. I don't think that's okay.
You might think that it's okay that the president's son-in-law sought to establish a secret back channel of communications with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility. I don't think that's okay. You might think it's okay that an associate of the president made direct contact with the GRU through Guccifer 2 and Wikileaks that is considered a hostile intelligence agency.
You might think that it's okay a senior campaign official was instructed to reach that associate and find out what that hostile intelligence agency had to say in terms of dirt on his opponent. You might think it's okay that the national security advisor-designate secretly confirmed with the Russian ambassador about undermining U.S. sanctions and you might think it's okay he lied about it to the F.B.I. You might say that's all okay. You might say that's just what you need to do to win.
But I don't think it's okay. I think it's immoral, I think it's unethical, I think it's unpatriotic, and yes, I think it's corrupt. And evidence of collusion. Now, I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to proof of conspiracy was another matter. Whether the special counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt the proof of that crime would be up to the special counsel, and I would accept his decision, and I do.
He is a good and, honorable man and he is a good prosecutor but I don't think that conduct, criminal or not, is okay. And the day we do think that's okay is the day we will look back and say, that is the day America lost its way.
And I will tell you one more thing that is apropos of the hearing today, I don't think it's okay that during a presidential campaign, Mr. Trump sought the Kremlin's help to consummate a real estate deal in Moscow that would make him a fortune, according to special counsel, hundreds of millions of dollars. I don't think it's okay he concealed it from the public; I don't think it's okay he advocated a new and more favorable policy towards the Russians, even as he was seeking the Russian's help, the Kremlin’s help, to make money.
I don't think it's okay that his attorney lied to our committee. There is a different word for that than collusion and it's called compromise. And that's the subject of our hearing today.
Schiff refused to hear any more from Republicans who wanted to speak, and the hearing then turned to witness testimony.