Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) wants to pretend that there is no impeachment inquiry and that the Ukraine scandal is all a ploy to distract.
On Wednesday, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) took two very different approaches to the news that Congress would launch an impeachment inquiry following the Trump administration admitting that it pressured Ukraine to investigate a political rival. First, he denied that the impeachment inquiry really exists; then he suggested a bizarre conspiracy theory that the whole thing was an effort to distract from his "deep state" conspiracy theories.
Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a fierce defender of Donald Trump, appeared on Fox News on Wednesday morning.
First, Collins complained that since the House has not yet voted to call the impeachment inquiry an impeachment inquiry, the investigations into Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden are a mere mirage.
"What is really happening here is nothing but the perpetration of a fiction on the voters of America," he argued, praising Trump for "leading" and "doing stuff."
"They have to come up with fiction that they're in an impeachment inquiry," he continued, warning, "If I see one more reporter say that we're in an impeachment inquiry, I just want to scream. We haven't started anything."
Collins argued that if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wanted to actually have an impeachment inquiry, she would have to bring it to a vote on the House floor.
But Collins is wrong. While Congress in the past has sometimes voted to open an official impeachment inquiry, such inquiries have also previously started at the committee level with no explicit vote.
Collins then tried to change the subject to his pet conspiracy theory: that the Robert Mueller investigation was illegal and the result of "deep state" Trump haters. He told Fox News that the Ukraine scandal was just an attempt to distract from that story.
"If we want to talk about the corrupt cabal in the Department of Justice, which the Democrats have all of a sudden put their head in the sand and forgotten," he suggested. "The things that we have been talking about for two years actually were coming true. You want to see corruption? You want to see a corrupt cabal? Look at CNN contributor Mr. [Andrew] McCabe who now goes back and we see exactly what they were doing."
Asked by co-host Steve Doocy if it was a "coincidence" that the impeachment inquiry was coming around the time an inspector general report is set to be released, Collins quickly embraced this conspiracy idea.
"Look, I would want to change the narrative too. They've tried a false narrative of trying to impeach this president for a long time. If I was [former FBI Director James] Comey and [former FBI officials] McCabe and [Peter] Strzok and [Lisa] Page, you don't want this investigated."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.