Wednesday, 07 February 2018

Ranking Democrat on Intel Committee Fell for a Prank Phone Call Offering Naked Pics of Trump

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Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.; shown) has promised to “leave no stone unturned” in the investigation to prove that Donald Trump colluded with a foreign power to influence American politics. Recent events show that Schiff, true to his word, is willing to go to great lengths to that end. In fact, Schiff is even willing to collude with a foreign power in an effort to influence American politics. Because of that, he fell for a prank phone call offering naked photographs of Donald Trump.

As Democrats continue to flog the stillborn horse of “Trump/Russia collusion,” one of the most vocal advocates of continuing the witch-hunt is Schiff, who is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. In February 2017, he told Politico that he would “leave no stone unturned” in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, adding that “it certainly had an influence on the election.” Then, in April 2017, he admitted that the investigation — which had been ongoing for months at that time, and in fact, predated the Trump presidency — had produced no evidence of collusion, saying, “I don't think we can say anything definitively at this point.

Yet, even while admitting the lack of anything resembling proof, Schiff went on to justify the continuation of the investigation. “We are still at the very early stage of the investigation,” he said, adding, “The only thing I can say is that it would be irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this.”

What is now known for certain is that the investigation into allegations of Trump/Russia collusion was based — in large part, if not entirely — on the spurious Trump “dossier” complied by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele for Fusion GPS and illegally paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. That “dossier” has been shown to be a total fabrication and has fallen under its own weight.

There is a big difference between leaving no stone unturned and manufacturing stones to turn.

But in his zeal to bring down the Trump presidency by proving that Team Trump colluded with Russians to influence American politics, Schiff has shown that he is what he claims to hunt. Because last April — just as Schiff was making the above statements — he fell for a prank phone call from two Russian comedians as one of them posed as Andriy Parubiy, the chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament. In the recording of that call — which has been posted to YouTube — Schiff can be heard speaking with the man he believes is Parubiy for eight minutes as “Parubiy” offers him dirt on Donald Trump. The dirt? Naked pictures of Trump and Russian glamor model Olga Buzova from Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow when he hosted the Miss Universe pageant.

During the call, Schiff is told that the pictures are part of a “classified” investigation being conducted by the Ukrainian Parliament and were passed to Vladimir Putin by his “goddaughter” Ksenia Sobchak, who in turn got them from Buzova. “Parubiy” also tells Schiff that the Russian government is now using the “compromising material” to blackmail Trump.

“Parubiy” also mentions covertly recorded conversations between then-Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Russian operatives during a secret meeting in a Brighton Beach caféin Brooklyn. “Parubiy” tells Schiff that Flynn was promised the photographs would remain a secret if Trump would reverse U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Schiff can be heard several times on the call asking “Parubiy” about the “compromising materials,” whether they will “corroborate this allegation,” and how he can get copies of them for the committee and the FBI.

Schiff, who now claims he knew all along the call was “bogus,” asked clarifying questions (including how to spell certain names) and seemed to be taking notes during the call. As mentioned above, he also stayed on the call to the end — more than eight minutes in all. That seems like a lot of time for the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee to waste on what he believed to be a “bogus” call while he was so busy leaving “no stone unturned” in his investigation of Trump/Russia collusion. Furthermore, Schiff promised he would have his staff “follow up to get spelling and more details.” In fact, his staff did follow up with e-mail correspondence seeking access to the “compromising” photographs. In those e-mails, Schiff’s staff said Schiff had found the conversation “productive.”

And while Schiff may claim that he suspected the call was not legitimate, it is interesting that he discussed the ongoing investigation with the caller. He began the call by warning the caller that “our Russian friends may be listening to the conversation so I wouldn't share anything over the phone that you wouldn't want them to hear.” Toward the end of the call, Schiff told the prankster, “This is very helpful. I appreciate it.” He also said, “I'll be in touch with the FBI about this. And we'll make arrangements with your staff. I think it probably would be best to provide these materials both to our committee and to the FBI.” He ended the call by saying, “Thank you very much. We will be back in touch with you through our staff to make arrangements to obtain these materials for our committee and for the FBI and I appreciate your reaching out to us.”

Neither Schiff nor his staff has explained why — if he thought the call was “bogus” — his staff followed up with “Parubiy” via e-mail to “obtain these materials for our committee and for the FBI.” Likely because he only realized it was “bogus” once the audio of the call was posted to the Internet. For someone who has voiced so much concern about President Trump making a laughing-stock of America, Schiff seems to be doing a fine job of that by himself.

As to Schiff knowing all along that the call was a prank, he claimed to have alerted the FBI immediately about the “bogus” nature of the call. The FBI refused to either confirm or deny that, saying in a statement, “We do not disclose whether not a complaint has been received,” and, “We neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.” Well, except for those two times that the agency confirmed the “investigation” into Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private e-mail server and account. And the myriad investigations into associates of President Trump. And the countless press conferences the FBI has held to confirm multiple other investigations.

One thing is overwhelmingly clear from listening to the recording: Schiff is so hell-bent on proving Trump/Russia collusion that he is an easy target for prank phone calls that fit the narrative. One is left to wonder whether a man so devoid of critical thinking skill should sit on a committee that deals with intelligence. Because it does not appear that the words “Schiff” and “intelligence” belong in the same sentence, much less the same committee.

Photo of Rep. Adam Schiff: AP Images

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