House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff was looking for ammunition against President Donald Trump.
But he might just have shot himself in the foot.
According to Fox News, the California Democrat is the subject of two complaints filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics related to a 2017 phone conversation Schiff had with a Russian comedian posing as a Ukrainian lawmaker.
One complaint, filed last week by the conservative nonprofit group Tea Party Patriots Action, states Schiff “used and abused his position” to “seek damaging and negative information about President Trump,” according to the report.
Another was filed Aug. 28 by Republican Jon Hollis, who is seeking to challenge Schiff for the Los Angeles-area congressional seat he has held since 2001. It accuses Schiff of “illegal collusion with foreign entities,” Fox News reported Wednesday.
Both complaints stem from a 2017 phone call Schiff had with a Russian comedian posing as a Ukrainian lawmaker.
During the call, Schiff appeared to be very interested in getting incriminating material on Trump, including a nude photo with a Russian television reality star.
However, the person on the other end of the line, who said he was Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Parubiy, was actually Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetzov, a Russian entertainer.
The fact that the phone call was fake doesn’t make Schiff’s interest in using a foreign government to obtain damaging information about the president any less real, Hollis charged in his ethics complaint.
“This letter serves as an official complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) regarding Rep. Adam Schiff’s illegal collusion with foreign entities and misuse of taxpayer resources for opposition research on political enemies,” Hollis wrote, according to Fox.
“The evidence supporting Adam’s Schiff’s violations of the law is compelling and irrefutable.”
At the time of the call, Schiff was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Now, he’s the committee’s chairman and playing the lead role in closed-door hearings aimed at gathering information for an impeachment case against Trump using a complaint from a “whistleblower” over a Trump phone call in July with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During the 2017 conversation, Schiff referred several times to contacting the FBI with whatever information the caller could provide, but Hollis’ complaint called that a smokescreen.
“It is clear from the recorded phone call that Rep. Schiff knows he should not be trying to obtain opposition research on a political opponent from foreign nationals,” Hollis wrote, according to Fox. “He attempts to mask his wrongdoing by, on numerous occasions, mentioning that he will work with the FBI.
“In so doing, Rep. Schiff is attempting to involve the FBI in his corrupt attempt to obtain dirt on President Trump. The FBI should not be in the business of teaming up with politicians to use the power of government to dig up dirt on political opponents.”
According to Fox, Schiff’s office did not respond to a request for comment about its report. However, Schiff’s office told The Atlantic for a January 2018 report that the Intelligence Committee had “informed appropriate law-enforcement and security personnel of the conversation, and (the) belief it was probably bogus.”
But Hollis told Fox News that the 2017 phone call shows how committed Schiff is to picking up anything that can be used to damage the Trump presidency.
“Watching Schiff push a false narrative over and over again with Russia and now with the whistleblower complaint tells us the only thing he cares about it fake investigations,” he said in the Wednesday report.
“Meanwhile, we have 60,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County, and his district is falling apart,” Hollis said.
According to Fox, Hollis is one of five Republicans aiming to unseat Schiff in California’s 28th Congressional District.
He told Fox that Schiff’s main priority of attacking the president isn’t helping the people he’s supposed to be representing.
“Mr. Schiff is out there with his dog and pony show,” Hollis said. “But if our district isn’t helped, we won’t get back from the brink.”
Schiff, who was also the target of a separate ethics complaint filed in March by the conservative group Judicial Watch, is obviously dedicated to bringing down the Trump administration by whatever means necessary — even if it involves taking dodgy phone calls from foreign “lawmakers” making literally incredible claims about compromising information on the president.
The irony here is that while he was trying to dredge up slime to smear Trump, Schiff ended up providing his political opponents with ammunition to use against him instead.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.