SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart called on the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to step down Thursday, saying the California Democrat is "unsuitable" for continuing to assert that the president colluded with Russia.
Stewart, R-Utah, was among nine Republican committee members who signed a letter seeking Rep. Adam Schiff's "immediate" resignation.
"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 faith in U.S. government institutions," according to the letter.
Stewart said Schiff's actions are "unbecoming" as chairman and risk permanently damaging the committee's role in overseeing U.S. intelligence.
"You can’t say that he (President Donald Trump) has committed treason, and say, ‘But we’re OK with that, we’ll allow him to stay in office.’ It isn’t one or the other," Stewart said.
Schiff has not resigned or backed down. He said his committee will continue its investigation into Trump's foreign business interests and Congress and the public still need to see special counsel Robert Mueller's full report.
"I say this to the president, and his defenders in Congress: You may think it’s OK how Trump and his associates interacted with Russians during the campaign. I don’t. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. And yes, I think it’s corrupt," he tweeted.
On CNN, Schiff reiterated what he said he's been saying for the past two years.
"One, there’s ample evidence of collusion in plain sight, and that is true. And second, that is not the same thing as whether Bob Mueller will be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crime of conspiracy," he said.
In December 2017, Schiff tweeted, "Here is what we know: The Russians offered help. The campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help. The President made full use of that help. That's pretty damning."
Trump also weighed in on Twitter, saying: "Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!"
Schiff has misled the public on collusion for two years, accusing the president of "treason and high crimes without evidence," Stewart said.
"Schiff's behavior is irresponsible and unsuitable for a leader," he tweeted.77 comments on this story
The letter cites Attorney General William Barr's notice to Congress that Mueller's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
It also mentions the House Intelligence Committee's own investigation that found no evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.
Stewart earlier called Mueller's findings a "great day for America" and said he couldn't understand how people could be disappointed or discouraged with what the special counsel found.
Barr, however, noted that the report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, nor does it exonerate him.