by WorldTribune Staff, February 24, 2020
How easy a mark for propaganda is Rep. Adam Schiff? In 2017, when a pair of Russian comedians posing as a Ukrainian politician said they had nude photos of President Donald Trump, Schiff fell for it hook, line and sinker.
So politicians and analysts were not surprised in the least when Schiff wholly embraced a New York Times report last week which said that “intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected.”
Trump on Sunday disputed the report — and took a swipe at Schiff.
“Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all,” Trump said. “They leaked it, Adam Schiff and his group. They leaked it to the papers. And as usual, they ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information.”
No one has played into the Kremlin’s hands more than Schiff, said Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, a member of the House Intelligence Committee which Schiff chairs.
“He’s at it again by putting out, through his committee, information that is false,” Ratcliffe told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures.
“Look, I’m not trying to be hyperbolic here, but I don’t know anyone in the last three years who has done more to help Vladimir Putin and Russia with their efforts to sow the seeds of discord in American elections and American election security than Adam Schiff has,” Ratcliffe said.
The classified briefing cited in the New York Times’ widely-disputed report happened earlier this month and was conducted by Shelby Pierson, the intelligence community election threats executive under then-Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
Ratcliffe said he could not provide specifics about “a classified briefing that was intended to remain secret,” but he did deny the accuracy of the reporting.
“We see when there’s a story about — that is allegedly anti-Trump or negative for the president, it shows up in newspapers because either Democratic members or Democratic staffers leak it,” Ratcliffe said. “The problem is, in this case, they have leaked information that’s not accurate.”
Ratcliffe’s comments echo denials made by a national security official cited by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday.
“What’s been articulated in the news is that the intelligence community has concluded that the Russians are trying to help Trump again. But the intelligence doesn’t say that,” Tapper’s source said. “The problem is Shelby said they developed a preference for Trump. A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference; it’s a step short of that.” The national security official added, “It’s more that they understand the president is someone they can work with; he’s a dealmaker. But not that they prefer him over” his Democratic opponents.
“So it may have been mischaracterized by Shelby,” the official said.
When the New York Times published the story on Thursday, Schiff tweeted in response: “We count on the intelligence community to inform Congress of any threat of foreign interference in our elections. If reports are true and the President is interfering with that, he is again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.”
Ratcliffe said on Sunday that the Russians “meddled in 2016” and “they’re going to meddle in 2020.”
“That’s not the issue: The issue is why Russia is being so successful in shaking American confidence in the integrity of our elections,” Ratcliffe argued. “And the reason is, it’s because Democrats keep perpetuating and accentuating and proliferating Russian propaganda for their political gain and for their political motivation against Donald Trump.”
Ratcliffe pointed to Christopher Steele’s bogus dossier being used in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to target Trump campaign associate Carter Page, as well as Schiff’s 2018 FISA memo, which defended the Page FISA process.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz identified at least 17 “ significant errors or omissions” in the DOJ’s and the FBI’s use of FISA warrants in the Trump-Russia investigation. Schiff’s critics believe Horowitz’s FISA report demonstrated that Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes’s own 2018 FISA memo was almost entirely correct.
“All of these things have been done by Democrats for their political gain, but has promoted everything that Russia has tried to accomplish,” Ratcliffe said. “And the Democrats have been their biggest allies.”
Schiff had claimed in December 2017 that there was “pretty damning” evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. And after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released in April, Schiff still claimed there was “ample evidence of collusion in plain sight.”
Mueller’s report stated: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”