A new connection has emerged between House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and the whistleblower who sparked the controversy over President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine.
Schiff’s ties to the whistleblower have emerged as a major thread of the controversy. Originally, Schiff said, “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower,” as reported by Fox News.
That claim was then clarified by aides to the California Democrat, who said Schiff was only referring the members of the committee and not staff. The truth finally emerged that the individual who alleged improper conduct during the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had actually contacted Schiff’s committee prior to filing his complaint.
There is a good reason for that, according to the Washington Examiner.
Two former staff members of the National Security Council — Abigail Grace and Sean Misko — now work for Schiff’s panel. Misko joined the panel in August, the same month the whistleblower complaint was filed.
The Examiner previously reported that the whistleblower is a former NSC official who worked with Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and also has expertise in Ukraine.
The Examiner reported that Misko, who came to the NSC in the Obama era, was not considered trustworthy in the Trump White House. The Examiner did not reveal the identity of the source who provided that information.
“There were a few times where documents had been signed off for final editing before they go to the national security adviser for signature. And he actually went in and made changes after those changes were already finished. So he basically tried to insert [changes], without his boss’ approval,” the Examiner quoted its source as saying.
“There were meetings in which he protested very heavily, and next thing you know, there’s an article in the paper about the contents of that meeting,” the Examiner quoted its source as saying.
Trump on Friday continued to defend himself against allegations that the July 25 call was improper. During the call, Trump asked Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider reopening an investigation into an energy company that employed Joe Biden’s son Hunter as a highly paid board member. In 2016, that investigation had been short-circuited after the former vice president joined others in asking for the prosecutor to be removed.
“The whistleblower reported a totally different conversation than I had. I released a transcript of my conversation — an exact transcript. And the whistleblower didn’t say that. The whistleblower is either saying untruths, OK? Or he didn’t know. Or he’s making up a story, like Schiff did. Schiff made up a story,” Trump said Friday, according to a White House media pool report.
Trump was referring to what Schiff later called a parody of Trump’s call that Schiff read during a committee hearing.
“He made up a fraudulent story. He then went before the U.S. Congress and the American people, and he reported a fraudulent story. Now, Schiff — something should happen to Schiff for that. He shouldn’t have immunity for that. Why should Schiff be given immunity when he goes out and he says a story about the president of the United States — what the president said — and it bears no relationship? In fact, every word was different,” Trump said, according to the pool report.
“And I’ll tell you what. I can’t believe that a congressman could be that dishonest and can have immunity from that.”
According to Fox News, Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has called for full disclosure about the role Schiff and his aides had in launching the whistleblower complaint, which Democrats are using as a base for their impeachment inquiry against Trump.
“The American public has a right to know the extent to which you, your colleagues, and your staff have been involved in secret discussions with the complainant on which you based your unilateral assertion of authority to commence impeachment proceedings,” Turner wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Turner has accused House Democrats of cloaking their impeachment inquiry in secrecy.
Turner wrote that House committees “are discussing holding not only secret hearings, but interviewing secret witnesses.”
“You are robbing the American public of their right to judge for themselves the veracity and credibility of these witnesses and this investigation,” Turner wrote to Pelosi.
“The American public is also unable in this process to judge the professionalism, predisposition, and bias of the questioners in this inquiry.”
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