Rep. Matt Gaetz wants to codify one of President Donald Trump’s taunts into federal law.
The Florida Republican filed a bill Wednesday that would boot Rep. Adam Schiff from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Gaetz named his legislation the “Preventing Extreme Negligence with Classified Information Licenses” Act — the PENCIL Act — mimicking President Donald Trump’s schoolyard insult for the beleaguered committee chairman.
Trump called Schiff a “little pencil neck” at a March rally.
Gaetz’s bill would also revoke Schiff’s security clearance and raises concerns about the chairman’s special access to national security information as a member of the “Gang of Eight”— chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees and top party leaders in each chamber. The text cites what Gaetz describes as Schiff’s “blatant bias.”
#BREAKING: Today I filed the “PENCIL Act,” expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that “Congressman Adam Schiff should be removed from the House Intelligence Committee and his security clearance immediately revoked.” pic.twitter.com/1FsMt6NUjr— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) April 11, 2019
The Florida Republican’s bill comes days before the Intelligence Committee expects to receive the full redacted report by Robert S. Mueller III's special counsel.
Schiff has been a frequent Republican target on social media and cable news since Attorney General William Barr’s summary of the report landed last month without new indictments of anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign for conspiring with Russia.
Republicans have called for Schiff to resign as chairman for making overheated statements about Russian collusion, including the claim that the special counsel report would uncover a scheme “beyond Watergate.”
Nine Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee signed a letter calling for Schiff to resign as chairman in March. Schiff pushed back in a speech listing repeated contacts between Russian nationals and the Trump campaign.
“You might think that’s okay, that’s just what you need to do to win,” Schiff said. “But I don’t think that conduct, criminal or not, is okay.”
Watch: Republicans call for Schiff to step down as Intel chairman during committee hearing
The bill also follows Barr’s testimony to the committee Wednesday.
Schiff called the integrity of Barr into question in an interview with Politico, likening the attorney general to Roy Cohn, counsel to the infamous Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
“The post-Watergate protections are being broken down one at a time,” Schiff said.
“You can fire the attorney general. You can hire a new attorney general who talks about how biased he is against the investigation. And when that attorney general is on the job, he can edit or redact what's given to him by the special counsel. It looks like the president is well on his way to having his own Roy Cohn after all,” the California Democrat said.