GOP lawmaker criticizes Democratic counsel over facial expression: 'Be very careful'

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee criticized the Democratic staff counsel of the House Intelligence Committee on Monday, arguing he made a face and was signaling with his words and expressions that U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon SondlandGordon SondlandWhite House withdraws nomination for Pentagon budget chief who questioned Ukraine aid hold Juan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? House wants documents on McEntee's security clearances MORE won that position because he was a donor.

Committee ranking member Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGeorgia makes it easier to get mail-in ballots after delaying primary Overnight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' House bill would ban stock trading by members of Congress MORE (R-Ga.) noted that Intelligence staff counsel Daniel Goldman had made a negative facial expression when discussing the $1 million that Sondland had given to the Trump Inaugural Committee, with Collins telling Goldman to be “very careful” about this.

“Be very careful about how you throw around dollars and giving,” said Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.), the panel's top Republican. He then noted that both Goldman and House Judiciary Committee Democratic counsel Barry Berke, who also testified Monday, were donors to the Democratic Party.

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Collins also criticized Goldman for appearing, as Collins viewed it, in place of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCoronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Schiff: Remote voting would not compromise national security MORE (D-Calif.).

“We already are not answering questions, and you are here without a pin because your chairman will not testify; that says all we need to hear. He doesn’t even stand behind his own report, he sends you,” Collins said.

Goldman pushed back strongly against Collins’s comments, asking him what his “implication” was.

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHarris knocks Gaetz for taking issue with money for Howard in relief package Critics hit Florida governor over lack of 'sweeping' coronavirus response Gaetz accuses Burr of 'screwing all Americans' with stock sale MORE (R-Fla.) then jumped in, telling Goldman that Republicans wanted Schiff to testify. 

“The implication is we want Schiff in that chair and not you. The implication is the person that wrote the report is the person who should come and present it, and you weren’t elected by anybody, and you’re the one giving this testimony in place of the chairman,” Gaetz said. “I hope that clears up the implication.”

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Gaetz's comments prompted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-N.Y.) to intervene. He told Gaetz to not “disrupt the committee,” while Goldman accused Collins of “casting aspersions."

Collins countered by saying Goldman had done the same to Sondland, before questioning moved on to a different member. 

Republicans have repeatedly asked for Schiff to testify before the Judiciary Committee, and have also asked for a “minority day of hearings.”