Charging he lied about his office’s early involvement with the whistleblower, House Republicans plan to call Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as one of their first witnesses in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
A source told Fox News on Monday that House Republicans want to question Schiff about his contact with the whistleblower, even if they are unlikely to succeed, Fox News reported.
Schiff announced Monday the public release of the first transcripts from their closed-door interviews, spotlighting witness concerns about President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky amid Republicans claims that the selective release of testimony is meant to create a narrative damaging to Trump.
Republican leaders, who presented a House resolution to censure Schiff for his handling of whistleblower testimony, have been questioning the intel chairman’s credibility for more than two years, pointing to his claim to have had “stone-cold evidence evidence” that Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016.
Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana wrote in an op-ed for FoxNews.com that Democratic rejection of the resolution “sent a loud and clear message: you can lie in Congress and get away with it.”
Banks said there have been “three clear instances of Schiff lying.”
The first was his frequent claim to have seen “ample evidence of Russian collusion.” After two years and $40 million of taxpayer money, however, special counsel Robert Mueller found no collusion.
The second lie, Banks said, was when Schiff said on national television that he and his committee had no prior contact with the anonymous whistleblower who filed the complaint. Even the Washington Post’s fact-checker condemned Schiff for that claim, giving him four of four “Pinocchios.”
The third, Banks said, was when Schiff fabricated a portion of the call between Trump and Zelensky in his opening remarks during a committee hearing. Schiff claimed later it was a “parody,” but Banks argued that viewers who hadn’t read the rough transcript wouldn’t know that.
Banks insisted there was “nothing impeachable” in the transcript of the call “and Schiff knew it, so he had to ‘revise’ the transcript to make his case.”
“The truth should speak for itself. And the American people deserve it,” he wrote. “We don’t need Adam Schiff’s spin and falsehoods.”
‘Trail of anti-Trump allegations’
In October, veteran reporter Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times wrote in an analysis that Schiff “has left a trail of anti-Trump allegations that remain unproven or conflict with the official record.”
He noted Schiff once insinuated that a blocked call on Donald Trump Jr.’s cellphone was to tell his father about an upcoming meeting with a Russian lawyer. However, the call was to a business associate.
“Adam Schiff is basically the Jussie Smollett of Congress on steroids,” the younger Trump said on Fox News.
Scarborough wrote that a comparison of Schiff’s statements to Mueller’s report “raises concerns about Mr. Schiff’s credibility.”
In his paraphrase of Trump’s phone call during the Sept. 26 nationally televised hearing, Schiff falsely claimed Trump requested that Zelensky fabricate evidence against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
Scarborough noted that after two days of taking heat, Schiff changed his defense, tweeting that the whistleblower “confirmed” the quote.
But Schiff didn’t document the quote, and it isn’t in the whistleblower’s nine-page complaint against Trump.
Allegations came straight from the Kremlin
Along with Schiff being forced to backtrack his claim that his office had no prior contact with the whistleblower, Scarborough listed numerous other falsehoods and deceptions.
One was his repeated citing of the discredited, politically funded Christopher Steele dossier during a March 2017 hearing with FBI Director James B. Comey.
“The allegations came straight from the Kremlin, creating the irony of Mr. Schiff using Moscow’s election-year allegations against Mr. Trump to investigate the Russians’ own U.S. election meddling,” Scarborough wrote.
Republicans since then forced the disclosure that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the document.
None of Steele’s 13 separate conspiracy allegations proved true, Scarborough noted.
Schiff, in an effort to bolster Steele’s allegations against Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, claimed Steele correctly predicted that energy company Rosneft would sell a 19% stake to a private investor.
However, the news media reported on the 19% stake weeks before Steele wrote that particular dossier memo.
Among other Schiff falsehoods noted by Scarborough:
- Schiff charged in 2018 that Republican Rep. Devin Nunes’ report presenting now-established evidence the FBI used the dossier to obtain warrants to surveill Page was “debunked.”
- Schiff claimed the FBI “independently corroborated” Steele’s allegations that Page coordinated with Moscow to interfere in the election. But the Mueller report found the FBI did not confirm that claim.
- Schiff claimed the FBI didn’t cite a Yahoo News story as dossier corroboration to a judge. However, Nunes eventually obtained a declassified wiretap application that clearly showed the article was meant as corroboration. And the source of the article, despite FBI denials, was Steele himself.
Scarborough also recounted number leaks that produced erroneous anti-Trump stories in major media.
‘Abused your position’
In March, when Mueller concluded he had no evidence of collusion, House intelligence committee Republicans wrote a letter demanding 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.
Scarborough noted that Schiff vigorously defended himself at a March 28 hearing. But none of Schiff’s examples, he wrote, “went to the core investigation: Did Trump associates conspire with Russians to interfere in the election?”