In a sternly worded letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Doug Collins – the ranking Republican on the committee – questioned two recent hires made by the Democratic majority on the panel. When news broke that Nadler had hired lawyers Barry Berke and Norman Eisen to do consulting work for the committee, Collins accused the committee chairman of “staffing up for impeachment” even in the glaring absence of the Mueller report.
“Your unilateral decision to hire two individuals with such obvious bias against the president will taint anything they touch going forward,” Collins wrote. “Does the hiring of Mr. Berke and Mr. Eisen indicate a lack of confidence in your current staff to handle important matters regarding the president?”
Nadler is one of many Democrats who have made little secret of their intentions to investigate President Donald Trump into oblivion. The New York Democrat raised eyebrows across the political spectrum when he brought Berke and Eisen – two well-known enemies of Trump – on board to do work for the investigation. Berke and Eisen have written several reports on how they believe that the publicly available evidence against Trump indicates that “the president obstructed justice under ordinary application of the relevant criminal law.”
In addition to questioning the impartiality that Berke and Eisen would bring to the table, Collins asked several pointed questions about the conflicts of interest that might be present in the arrangement.
“Is Mr. Berke assisting the Majority staff to drive more business to his law firm?” he asked. “Is the nature of the Majority staff’s arrangement to pay Mr. Berke and Mr. Eisen by the hour? If so, what is the hourly rate? Did Mr. Berke and Mr. Eisen complete the appropriate paperwork authorizing outside income as House employees? If not, is the ‘consultant’ arrangement for Mr. Berke and Mr. Eisen simply a veil to enable the Majority to circumvent normal reporting procedures?”
Collins also said that allowing Eisen to remain employed by the “elite, liberal think-tank” the Brookings Institution represented a conflict of interest all on its own.