BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff now calling for an independent commission to investigate the federal government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The congressman tweeting, “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 be better prepared for the next pandemic. I'm working on a bill to do that.”
Joining us now to react, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Doug Collins — often by Adam Schiff's side, but maybe not on the same side. Congressman, is this the time to bring up a commission?
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): No, it's not. And I think — look, there's going to be enough with the packages that we just passed, of aid that is going to people starting in the next few weeks, we have oversight in that, we have inspector generals, there's stuff that's been put in there to make sure.
And look, at a certain point in time, there will be a look back at this. There'll be a look back at what happened and how it came about. But also, I think there's going to be actually a look back here that I'm not sure Adam Schiff wants to talk about, and that is China's role in this, and the fact that as Intelligence Committee chairman he was so wrapped up in impeachment during when all this hit, that I'm not sure that there was a slow response on both sides, because no one was looking at this because he was so focused on the president and what he was trying to do in an election, that we were missing basically China's role and others. I mean, we've seen this before. I'm not sure he would like the outcome of this report any more than he did any of the other reports that he had this past year.
KILMEADE: Absolutely. And the rise of Al-Qaeda was really muted by the fact that President Clinton was so caught up in his own impeachment. I hope we start learning from this. Meanwhile, on the terms of impeachment, Adam Schiff was asked, did your impeachment inquiry hurt the president being able to look after the potential pandemic? Here's his response.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL (MSNBC HOST): Mitch McConnell said that he believes that the impeachment trial in the Senate slowed down the federal government's response.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Yeah, the president something similar, which, you know, was an interesting acknowledgment that the administration has screwed up this response. And I think the facts are quite clear that the president's weeks-long, maybe months-long delay in taking this seriously has had catastrophic consequences.
KILMEADE: What's your response to that?
COLLINS: Brian, he just can't help himself. This is a man who for a year has done nothing — over a year has attacked this president, tried to go through the Mueller Report, the impeachment. He said there was things — you know, the president did in plain sight that he did wrongdoing. He just can't help himself.
Even in quarantine, even in isolation it sounds like all he wants to do is focus on the president. The president has done a good job as is he focused on this. We have all learned from this crisis going, and the president has been listening to his advisors and moving forward. But there can be no mistake that in the month of January and December, when Adam Schiff was leading this country down a sham impeachment, that there was distraction on Capitol Hill. You saw it on both sides of the aisle that they were so focused on this. And you know, for him to come back at this point and try to regain the spotlight from his failed attempts at impeachment is just, it's sad for the American people. We need to be focusing on what's happening now, getting the drugs that you just talked about with Dr. Oz., getting these folks the money that they need so that our economy can recover as we go through this, and being taking care of the people who are losing family members and losing lives and losing businesses right now. Again, this is so premature, but it's — frankly it's not nothing new for Adam Schiff.