by WorldTribune Staff, September 27, 2019
Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, delivered an opening statement at the Sept. 26 Trump-Ukraine whistleblower hearing that was immediately recognized as a falsehood.
Only after being called out by Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio did Schiff, a California Democrat, admit his statement was “part in parody.”
In his statement, Schiff said President Donald Trump had asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to “make up dirt” on former Vice President Joe Biden and said Trump threatened to make the same request of Zelensky eight times. Both quotes are not in the transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky that the White House released earlier this week.
“It’s not the conversation that was in the chairman’s opening statement,” Turner said at the hearing. “And while the chairman was speaking I actually had someone text me, ‘is he just making this up?’ And yes, yes, he was because sometimes fiction is better than the actual words or the text. But luckily, the American public are smart, and they have the transcript. They’ve read the conversation. They know when someone is just making it up.”
After Turner concluded, Schiff said: “I want to mention that my colleague is right on both counts. It’s not okay, but also my summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least part in parody. The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course the president never said, ‘If you don’t understand me, I’m going to say it seven more times.’ My point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words.”
Schiff said the Trump-Zelensky transcript “reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates. We’ve been very good to your country, very good. No other country has done as much as we have, but you know what, I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent understand the loss of it on this and on that.”
Trump on Sept. 27 said Schiff should resign, tweeting: “Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist. He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, [and] me sound guilty.”
Trump added that Schiff “was desperate and he got caught. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!”
Republicans had called on Schiff to resign earlier this year, accusing him of disseminating falsehoods about the Russia investigation.
Some observers said that not only was the venue inappropriate for such a “parody,” but that Schiff would first need to grow a sense of humor before anything he says in jest could be considered funny.
“Adam Schiff has one of the worst senses of humor of anyone I’ve ever met,” former Rep. Trey Gowdy said on Fox News’s The Story with Martha MacCallum. “So, he doesn’t need to try parody.”
Schiff on the Sept. 26 broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room,” said that he didn’t regret his “parody” and insisted that everyone understood he was merely “mocking” Trump.
Host Wolf Blitzer asked, “Well, do you regret what you called the parody, the use of those phrases during the course of your opening statement?”
Schiff responded: “No. I think everyone understood, and my GOP colleagues may feign otherwise, that when I said — suggested that it was as if the president said, listen carefully because I’m only going to tell you seven more times, that I was mocking the president’s conduct.”