Republican lawmakers on Thursday rallied following the House Intelligence Committee's release of the "whistleblower" complaint, ripping the committee's Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA). The GOP dismissed the complaint as more "second-hand gossip," and said it confirmed the absence of quid pro quo or a legitimate crime.
The House Intelligence Committee released the "whistleblower's" complaint ahead of Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire's testimony before the committee. Schiff opened the hearing with a dramatized version of the conversation between President Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Schiff's opening statement drew the ire of Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), who slammed Schiff's parody.
The complaint, as well as the transcript itself, drew further reactions from Republicans across the board, who ripped Democrats for relying on "second-hand gossip" in their attempts to take down the president.
"We have a full transcript of the call between @realDonaldTrump and President Zelensky, yet Adam Schiff opens the Whistleblower hearing with a total embellishment of what was actually said," Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) wrote.
"How stupid does he think the American people are?" Norman continued.
"It is disturbing and outrageous that Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff opens up a hearing of this importance with improvised fake dialogue between President Trump and President Zelenskyy," Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) wrote:
"We should focus on the facts," she added.
"UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER REPORT IS PUBLIC!" Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) wrote in all caps. "It is ALL rumor, gossip, hearsay. NO PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OR EVIDENCE OF ANYTHING! I recommend reading it."
"In the alternative, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a picture that fully describes the whistleblower & his report," he added, alongside a photo of animal waste.
"Lost in all of the Ukraine controversy: this is such an egregious breach of trust with the IC. How can a President exercise his constitutional duties if his calls are being politically leaked?" Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) asked.
"How can foreign leaders trust us if they know this could happen? It is appalling," Meadows added.
Meadows also pointed out that the "whistleblower" complaint is based on nothing more than "hearsay." Because of that "there's no reason to view this leaked call as anything other than a continued effort from within to undermine both POTUS and an imminent FISA IG report, expected to be damning toward the Intel Community," Meadows concluded.
"'Whistleblower'? To something they haven't witnessed first-hand?" Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) asked. "More like a rogue, self-appointed private eye scooping up second-hand gossip and reading public news articles."
"No quid pro quo, no crimes. @realDonaldTrump didn't break any laws," Hice added. "@RepAdamSchiff is a disgrace":
- Rep. Jody Hice (@CongressmanHice) September 26, 2019
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) concurred, adding, "As expected, it is hearsay without first hand knowledge & isn't impeachable regardless."
"This entire scene in Congress has been a one way express ticket to crazy town," he added:
The Inspector General for the Intelligence Community found that the so-called "whistleblower" had "some indicia of an arguable political bias...in favor of a rival political candidate."
That's Washington speak for "they were out to get the President."
- Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) September 26, 2019
.@HouseDemocrats are so blinded by their hatred of @realDonaldTrump that they are ignoring all protocol. Whistleblowers should be protected, that's why it's so important for these hearings to be held privately like HPSCI typically does with these types of complaints.
- Rep Rick Crawford (@RepRickCrawford) September 26, 2019
I agree with @GOPLeader -it's time to stop wasting taxpayer money on baseless investigations and start actually working on policies that would benefit the American people.
- Rep. Doug LaMalfa (@RepLaMalfa) September 26, 2019
Dems said then:
-Impeachment = undoing an election
-Impeachment must be bipartisan
-Impeachment supporters are driven by hatred
-Trying to undo the 2016 election
-Have no bipartisan support
-Filled with hatred of @realDonaldTrump
Their hypocrisy is unbelievable.
- Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) September 26, 2019