Representative Adam Schiff is loud and clear. President Trump must be impeached for seeking dirt on a political opponent during a phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But the California Democrat committed the same misdeed himself in a phone call with two Russian radio pranksters.
In January 2018, Schiff asked the two shock jocks, who posed as Ukraine officials, for derogatory information about Trump that included compromising nude photos. Schiff is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Yesterday, GOP Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida reminded everyone that Schiff did exactly what he accused Trump of doing, except that Trump, as the transcript of the call shows, didn’t ask for “dirt.”
Schiff did, the transcript of his call shows.
The latest impeachment madness began when news surfaced that Trump had asked Zelensky about the Biden-Burisma scandal during a phone call. The scandal, a major influence-peddling scheme, involved then Vice President Joe Biden. He threatened to withhold $1 billion of loan guarantees from Ukraine if it didn’t fire the prosecutor who was probing a company that employed and enriched Biden’s son, Hunter.
Because Trump asked Zelensky to get to the bottom of the scheme, we are to believe that the president solicited “foreign interference” in the 2020 presidential election to cripple Biden.
An anonymous CIA whistleblower leveled that ridiculous charge in a nine-page, hearsay account of the call. That dubious account, contained in a letter to Schiff and his counterpart in the Senate, Richard Burr of North Carolina, initiated the latest witch hunt.
Helpfully, Gaetz tweeted a clip of Schiff’s appearance on ABC’s This Week: “What we have seen in that call record, is a president of the United States use the full weight of his office to manufacture dirt on this opponent and interfere in our election,” Schiff said. “It is illegal, improper, a violation of oath, a violation of his duty to defend our elections, our constitution for the president merely to ask for foreign interference.”
Schiff’s Phone Call
Yet Gaetz’s tweet also included excerpts of Schiff’s phone call with the Russian pranksters. Posing as Andriy Parubiy, the former speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, they asked Schiff if he was interested in naked photos of the president with Russian singer Olga Buzova.
Schiff most certainly was.
Schiff: “So, you have ... compromising material on Mr. Trump?”
One prankster: “Absolutely.”
Schiff: “We will try to work with the FBI to try to figure out how we can take copies of those.... I’ll be in touch with the FBI about this, and we'll make arrangements with your staff. I think it would be best to provide these materials to both our committee and the FBI. We'll make arrangements between my staff and yours on how to facilitate that.”
Schiff’s handlers had a ready excuse for the attempt to obtain what amounts pornography with which to destroy Trump: “Before agreeing to take the call, and immediately following it,” they told The Atlantic, “the committee informed appropriate law enforcement and security personnel of the conversation, and of our belief that it was probably bogus.”
Maybe, but what Schiff or his staff believed is immaterial. That is not the standard by which Schiff measured Trump: “It is illegal, improper, a violation of oath, a violation of his duty to defend our elections, our constitution for the president merely to ask for foreign interference.”
Schiff solicited “dirt” on Trump and asked for “foreign interference.” Had the offer been real, Schiff would have accepted it. He knows that, and so does everyone else.
He must either resign or be censured.
Schiff’s Big Lie
He won’t resgn or be censured, but at least one Republican tried. Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona introduced a resolution after Schiff portrayed Trump's call to Zelensky in a false light.
“I hear what you want,” Schiff said Trump told Zelensky. “I have a favor I want from you, though and I'm gonna say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it.”
Trump said nothing of the kind, and Schiff claimed his remarks were “parody.” Neither House Republicans nor Trump got the joke.
Tweeted Trump, “Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people. It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”
Image of Adam Schiff: Screenshot of house.gov