Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, October 10, 2019
Those who aren’t fans have plenty of ways to describe Rep. Adam Schiff: Deceptive. Disingenuous. Eternal evangelist for the bogus dossier. The Jussie Smollett of Congress on steroids. Puppet of George Soros. Pencil neck.
But as the Ukraine whistleblower saga unravels in real time, so, critics say, does the credibility of the California Democrat who is chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
In an Oct. 8 analysis for The Washington Times, Rowan Scarborough wrote that Schiff, who is leading the closed-door impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, “has left a trail of anti-Trump allegations that remain unproven or conflict with the official record.”
In his most recent allegation, Schiff during a Sept. 26 nationally televised hearing said that Trump requested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fabricate evidence against Joe Biden.
“In other words, Trump was asking Zelensky to commit a felony,” Scarborough wrote.
Such a request isn’t in the transcript of the July Trump-Zelensky phone call. Challenged by Republicans, Schiff defended his version of the call as his own personal “parody.”
Democrats claim Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Bidens by threatening to withhold approved military aid.
Zelensky on Oct. 10 said that was not true.
“There was no blackmail,” Zelensky said. “I had no idea the military aid was held up. When I did find out, I raised it with [Vice President Mike] Pence at a meeting in Warsaw.”
Schiff “shifted his defense,” Scarborough noted.
Two days after the so-called “parody” quote, Schiff tweeted that the unidentified anti-Trump whistleblower “confirmed” the quote.
“He didn’t explain where. It isn’t in the nine-page complaint against Trump that the whistleblower, a CIA analyst and Democrat, sent the House and Senate intelligence committees,” Scarborough wrote.
Republicans also accuse Schiff of lying about when he or his staff had contact with the whistleblower. Schiff at first said there was no contact. Now it turns out that the person consulted with committee Democrats.
“You know what else Adam Schiff has been saying to you and the American public that was not true?” said Rep. Lee M. Zeldin, New York Republican. “That he had no contact with the whistleblower — he’d like to, but he didn’t have any contact. He lied.”
Scarborough cited other examples of Schiff’s “dubious assertions” since early 2017:
The Steele dossier
At a March 2017 hearing with FBI Director James Comey at the witness table, Schiff repeatedly cited the discredited Christopher Steele dossier. He gave credence to a list of unverified felony charges against Trump. The allegations came straight from the Kremlin, creating the irony of Schiff using Moscow’s election-year allegations against Trump to investigate the Russians’ own U.S. election meddling.
Since that hearing, Republicans forced the disclosure that it was Schiff’s Democratic Party that funded Steele. None of the 13 separate conspiracy allegations in the dossier proved true. Mueller found no Trump conspiracy in his report. Schiff fought efforts to find out who funded the dossier and how the FBI used it to target Trump.
Misleading a judge
In 2018, Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and then-chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a report on how the FBI used the dossier to persuade a judge to approve a year’s worth of wiretaps on Carter Page. Schiff issued a countermemo that the established press accepted, labeling Nunes’ paper “debunked.”
Schiff was wrong on a number of points.
He wrote that Bruce Ohr, then a top Justice Department official, didn’t go to the FBI with dossier dirt until November 2016, so it would be impossible for him to have influence on the wiretaps application in October. In fact, Ohr began feeding dossier information in August 2016, starting with Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and reaching deep inside the Justice Department. He talked directly to agent Peter Strzok, the man heading the Trump investigation who held great animus toward the president.
Schiff said the Nunes report “mischaracterizes Bruce Ohr’s role, overstates the significance of his interactions with Steele.”
In fact, Ohr, as associate deputy attorney general, the No. 4 position, played a critical role in repeatedly ferrying Steele’s allegations to the Obama administration and continued talking to him well into 2017. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked at Fusion GPS, Steele’s handler. Ohr provided the FBI all of Nellie Ohr’s anti-Trump research as well.
Schiff, a regular guest on CNN and MSNBC, suggested pre-Mueller report that he had seen evidence of a conspiracy or that certain known contacts between a Trump associate and a Russian amounted to election collusion.
In March 2017, the month he read from the dossier, Schiff said on MSNBC, “I don’t want to go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial and is very much worthy of investigation, so that is what we ought to do.”
The following December on CNN, he said, “We have all of these facts in chronology, you’d have to believe that these were all isolated incidents, not connected to each other — just doesn’t make rational sense. … We do know this: The Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help, the Russians gave help and the president made full use of that help. That is pretty damning, whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not.”
One of Schiff’s major pieces of evidence is the July 2017 disclosure that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes, and the lawyer didn’t relay any dirt. The meeting had nothing to do with Russian hacking or social media information warfare.
In his overall conclusion, the Mueller report said, “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
In April 2018, Nunes and the Republican majority issued a report saying there was no election conspiracy. Schiff issued a 99-page rebuttal.
One section focused on George Papadopoulos, the Trump adviser who met Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor active in Western national security circles. In London, Mifsud told Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016, that he heard Moscow owned “thousands” of Clinton emails.
Schiff said Nunes never sought records to “determine whom on the campaign he would have reported this overture to.”
“You cannot find what you did not seek,” the Schiff report said.
In fact, the Mueller report a year later found that Papadopoulos never acted on what Mifsud said, nor told anyone on the campaign. He communicated with a Russian tied to a think tank about having candidate Trump visit Moscow. No visit happened.
Mueller examined all of Papadopoulos’ actions in Europe. There was no evidence he was involved in coordinating hacking or social media.
Schiff’s report is dotted with a Russian here and a Russian there reaching out to the Trump campaign. But again, the long Mueller investigation did not find any contact was part of a conspiracy.
The Schiff report implies that the National Rifle Associate took millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions from Russia. This is a theory pushed repeatedly by Fusion GPS, Hillary Clinton’s opposition research firm that handled Steele and circulated his bogus dossier.
There was no evidence of this in the Mueller report. Nor have there been any confirmed reports that the FBI is investigating the NRA.
Resign and censure
News in March that the Mueller investigation found no Trump-Russia election conspiracy prompted House intelligence committee Republicans to write a letter demanding that Schiff resign the chairmanship.
“The findings of the special counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information, having damaged the integrity for his committee, and undermine faith in U.S. government institutions,” the Republicans wrote.
After Schiff’s “parody” routine, Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican, offered a resolution calling on the House to censure him.
Schiff vigorously defended himself at a March 28 hearing.
He mentioned: Don Jr.’s willingness to meet with the Russian attorney; Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman, providing polling data to his longtime employee in Ukraine who the FBI says is tied to Russian intelligence; adviser Roger Stone, who had a brief message exchange with a person who turned out to be a Russian intelligence officer.
“My colleagues may think it’s OK that the Russians offered dirt on the Democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign,” he said. “You might think that’s OK. My colleagues might think it’s OK, when that was offered to the son of the president who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president’s son did not call the FBI. He did not adamantly refuse that foreign help. No, instead that son said that he would love the help of the Russians.”
None of Schiff’s examples went to the core investigation: Did Trump associates conspire with Russians to interfere in the election?
Said Schiff, “I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to proof of conspiracy was another matter, whether the special counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the proof of that crime would be up to the special counsel and I would accept his decision, and I do. He’s a good and honorable man, and he is a good prosecutor. But I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, it’s OK. And the day we do think that’s OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day America lost its way.”
On Oct. 2, Donald Trump Jr. said on Twitter that Schiff is a puppet of leftist billionaire George Soros.
Trump Jr. said that the anonymous whistleblower who accused President Trump of allegedly pressuring Zelensky went for advice to Schiff.
“An intelligence community whistleblower is required to go to directly to the Inspector General, before going to Congress. The fact that this anonymous whistleblower went first to seek partisan advice from a George Soros *puppet* tells you everything you need to know. ..,” Trump Jr. tweeted.
“Adam Schiff submitted a subpoena for the very document that he helped create, and stood in front of the American people and claimed he had no knowledge of this whistleblower,” Trump Jr. added.
Trump Jr. recalled how Schiff “lied and reinvented President Trump’s words” in Congress when he read what was supposed to be the transcript of the telephone conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
“Adam Schiff is basically the Jussie Smollett of Congress on steroids,” the younger Trump said on Fox News.
During an interview on Fox News’s “Hannity” program on Sept. 26, former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova and attorney Victoria Toensing said that there is evidence of Soros’s involvement throughout the whistleblower document.
According to the lawyer, the document contains several references and footnotes that show the connection to the tycoon.
“The whistleblower sprinkles throughout his documents footnotes referring to a publication with the initials OCCRP. One guess, Sean, who funds OOCRP? George Soros,” Toensing revealed.
According to Toensing, the text presented by the whistleblower refers to the organization funded by the Soros Open Society Foundation, on several occasions, in notes 4, 9 and 10 on pages 4, 5 and 6 respectively.
Former CIA agent Fred Fleitz, former deputy assistant to the president and member of the WorldTribune.com board of advisors, also found it very strange that a complaint written by an intelligence officer was written in such a professional manner.
“It appears to be written by a law professor and includes legal references and detailed footnotes. It also has an unusual legalistic reference on how this complaint should be classified,” Fleitz said in an opinion piece published last week in the New York Post.
Trump Jr. also highlighted the double standard by which Democrats operate: “If I lied, even a little bit in front of those guys like Adam Schiff has lied to the American people, and in front of Congress the other day, they’d throw me in jail for perjury.”