The usual suspects among House Republicans have already begun casting scorn on lead impeachment investigator Adam Schiff for drafting a bill that would establish an independent, nonpartisan investigative commission for the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.
Representatives Devin Nunes of California and Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, respectively, have variably called Mr Schiff’s proposal a “stunt” and lampooned him for “politicizing” the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News reported.
And on Thursday, GOP Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the former top Republican on the Judiciary panel who stepped down to run for Georgia’s open Senate seat, added to the pile-on.
“[Schiff] just can’t help himself. This is a man who for over a year has done nothing but attack this president,” Mr Collins said on Fox & Friends, highlighting the fact that Mr Trump has emerged relatively politically unscathed from congressional Democrats’ investigations into Russian election interference and the administration’s pressure campaign against Ukraine in 2019 to interfere in the 2020 election.
But the proposal from Mr Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence panel, appeared to make clear he and other Democrats in the current Congress would not be involved in any of an investigative commission’s work.
The investigative commission formed after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US was led by former New Jersey Republican Governor Thomas H Kean and included retired members of Congress such as Lee H Hamilton of Indiana, the former Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees.
No contemporaneous members of Congress sat on that investigative panel.
“After Pearl Harbor and 9/11, we looked at what went wrong to learn from our mistakes. Once we’ve recovered, we need a nonpartisan commission to review our response and how we can better prepare for the next pandemic,” Mr Schiff tweeted Wednesday. “I’m working on a bill to do that,” the California Democrat added.
A spokesman for the chairman could not immediately be reached for comment on the exact contours of the bill Mr Schiff says Intelligence Committee staff is drafting.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged members to focus publicly on what Congress can do to alleviate more immediate concerns, such as deploying medical resources and aid to states as well as enacting economic recovery mechanisms.
“Let’s put an after action review down the road,” Ms Pelosi told CNN Wednesday.