by WorldTribune Staff, November 20, 2019
House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff openly lied on two occasions during the Nov. 19 public impeachment hearings, reports say.
One falsehood by the California Democrat running the hearings came when he claimed that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman had earlier testified that he thought President Donald Trump might have broken the law, Breitbart News noted.
In his opening statement on Tuesday, Schiff claimed that Vindman had reported his concerns about Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to a National Security Council lawyer because he thought the president might have done something illegal.
“Lt. Col. Vindman’s fear was that the president had broken the law, potentially,” Schiff told the committee.
Breitbart News noted: “That statement flatly contradicts what Vindman told the committee earlier that day, as well as in his closed-door testimony before the committee last month.”
In his October testimony, Vindman, when asked whether he thought anything illegal had occurred, told the committee: “I wasn’t prepared to necessarily make that kind of judgment. I thought it was troubling and disturbing, but, you know, I guess, I guess I couldn’t say whether it was illegal. I’m not an attorney.”
On Tuesday, in his prepared remarks, Vindman said he found the call “inappropriate” and “improper” — but not “illegal.”
Rep. Chris Stewart, Utah Republican, summed up Vindman’s testimony — which Vindman did not contradict: “Your concerns regarding this phone call were not legal. They are based on moral, ethical and policy differences.”
The second Schiff falsehood, several media outlets point out, was his insistence that the so-called “whistleblower” has a “statutory right to anonymity. These proceedings will not be used to out the whistleblower.”
No such statute exists.
Even the leftist Washington Post disagreed with Schiff, stating “it’s not a right spelled out in any statute.”
“The ICWPA (Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act) doesn’t include language granting whistleblowers a right to anonymity. Neither do other statutes, directives or court rulings that apply to the intelligence community,” the Post’s fact-checker wrote. “The argument that whistleblower-protection laws implicitly provide anonymity is more nuanced, and debatable, than what Schiff said in a nationally televised hearing. And what good is a statutory right anyway if there’s no mechanism to enforce it?”
Last month, the Post’s fact-checker said that Schiff’s claim that he had not spoken directly with the whistleblower was “flat-out false.”
During Tuesday’s hearings, Rep. Mike Conaway, Texas Republican, made a “personal request” that Schiff clearly state the legal reasoning for keeping the whistleblower “immune” from testifying, even in a secure, closed-door environment that would protect his identity.
“[I want] you and/or one of the members of the committee that are lawyers to put into the record the federal statute that provides for the absolute immunity or right to immunity that you’ve exerted over and over and over,” Conaway told Schiff, adding “I don’t think its there.”
Conaway continued: “And before you get mad and accuse me of wanting to out the whistleblower, you get upset every time somebody accuses you personally of knowing who the whistleblower is. I get upset every time you… accuse me of — simply because I want to know the whistleblower or we want to know what’s going on — that [Republicans] want to ‘out’ that individual.”
Fox News noted that, as Conaway spoke, “Schiff sat largely emotionless in his chair, with his arms crossed and staring straight ahead.”
“I know that you’ve overruled my request for a closed-door subpoena [of the whistleblower],” Conaway said. “I do think it’s important you put in to record the basis on which you continue to assert this absolute right to anonymity of the whistleblower.”
Conaway also pointed to a Sept. 23 “Dear Colleague” letter to all 435 elected representatives penned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which asserted that whistleblowers are “required by law to testify to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.”
Therefore, Conaway claimed, Schiff is either “defying” Pelosi, and thereby federal law, or Pelosi has the legal standard incorrect.
“At least set the record straight,” Conaway added. “Is the whistleblower required by law, as the speaker said, to testify to us or not, and what is this absolute right to anonymity?”
After Conaway yielded back to Schiff, the chairman referenced the federal whistleblower statute, which the Post fact-checker said does not guarantee the right to anonymity.
Meanwhile, White House official Kash Patel has filed a defamation lawsuit against Politico in which he says Schiff “weaponized the media” to advance his impeachment agenda.
Patel, a senior counterterrorism official on the National Security Council (NSC), filed the lawsuit in Virginia on Nov. 18, Breitbart News reported.
Schiff “acted in concert” with Politico to leak allegedly false information from the impeachment inquiry as part of a “scheme” to advance the “inquisition” against Trump, according to Patel’s lawsuit.
Patel filed the defamation suit against Politico, Politico reporter Natasha Bertrand, and Robert Allbritton, the publisher and executive chairman of the media organization.
The lawsuit alleges:
Defendants intentionally employed a scheme or artifice to defame Kash with the intent to undermine the President’s confidence in Kash and to further Schiff’s impeachment inquisition. Defendants acted in concert with Schiff to accomplish an unlawful purpose through unlawful means, without regard for Kash’s rights and interests.
Defendants abandoned all journalistic integrity and violated their own code of ethics in order to further the conspiracy with Schiff. Defendants did not seek truth; report truth; minimize harm; act independently; and they most certainly were not transparent.
In particular, Patel accuses Bertrand of writing two false stories for Politico claiming the NSC official was feeding Trump negative information about Ukraine and misrepresenting himself as an expert on the Eastern European country to the U.S. president.
Patel is seeking at least $25 million for the defamation he said he suffered and “presumed damages and actual damages, including, but not limited to, insult, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, injury to his reputation, special damages, costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses.”
He is demanding a trial by jury.
Breitbart News noted: “The significance of this lawsuit’s filing is that Bertrand’s Politico story on Patel came based off of testimony provided behind closed doors to the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry by Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman. They both alleged, incorrectly, in their testimony that Patel had secret meetings with President Trump on Ukraine matters and provided the president with documents on Ukraine.”
But as Breitbart News has previously reported, “while these Democrat impeachment witnesses Hill and Vindman may have testified in Schiff’s private impeachment inquiry to that effect, it was not accurate. Patel has since publicly confirmed he has never spoken with the president about Ukraine. Politico’s decision to print the false testimony of Hill and Vindman as fact, which Patel’s lawsuit makes clear was in close coordination with Schiff and his team on Capitol Hill, could seriously cost the media outlet. Other media outlets that printed the inaccuracies could also end up on the chopping block as well, but for now Patel is focused on Politico with this lawsuit.”