House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff offered an ounce of contrition Sunday over his role in the early stages of the Ukraine controversy, while President Donald Trump replied with a pound of contempt.
Schiff originally said, regarding the complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
That claim was then amended by aides who said the California Democrat was referring only to the members of his committee and not staff, Fox News reported.
The truth finally emerged that the individual who alleged improper conduct during the call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had contacted Schiff’s committee prior to filing his complaint.
The Washington Examiner has reported that the pathway for contact likely involved two former staff members of the National Security Council on the committee’s staff who worked with the whistleblower in the past.
On Sunday, during an appearance on “Face the Nation,” Schiff was asked about his initial comment.
“Do you regret saying that we, the committee, weren’t in touch with the whistleblower?” host Margaret Brennan said, according to CBS News.
“I should have been much more clear, and I said so the minute it was brought to my attention that I was referring to the fact that when the whistleblower filed the complaint, we had not heard from the whistleblower,” the congressman said. “We wanted to bring the whistleblower in at that time. But I should’ve been much more clear about that.”
Schiff also said he has abandoned his position that the whistleblower should testify in public and now supports conducting further investigations in secret.
Trump hammered the congressman on Twitter.
“Adam Schiff now doesn’t seem to want the Whistleblower to testify,” he said Monday. “NO! Must testify to explain why he got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong, not even close. Did Schiff tell him to do that? We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity to determine WHY this was done to the USA.
“Democrat’s game was foiled when we caught Schiff fraudulently making up my Ukraine conversation, when I released the exact conversation Transcript, and when Ukrainian President and the Foreign Minister said there was NO PRESSURE, very normal talk! A total Impeachment Scam!”
….Democrat’s game was foiled when we caught Schiff fraudulently making up my Ukraine conversation, when I released the exact conversation Transcript, and when Ukrainian President and the Foreign Minister said there was NO PRESSURE, very normal talk! A total Impeachment Scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2019
…..BY THE WAY, DON’T CALL ME AGAIN, I’LL CALL YOU WHEN YOU’VE DONE WHAT I’VE ASKED.’” A reminder, that wasn’t just stupid, it was FALSE.” @greggutfeld @GregGutfeldShow @FoxNews I never said this. Schiff made it up and read it to Congress & the American People. End Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019
Schiff also said on “Face the Nation” that just because a transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows no evidence of a quid pro quo regarding a push to investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, House Democrats might yet unearth such evidence.
In fact, Schiff said House Democrats are now investigating possible behind-the-scenes work that preceded the call, claiming Ukraine was being “conditioned” to respond the right way.
“We have discovered in very short order not only the contents of that call but also the preparatory work that went into that call. The effort to condition something the Ukrainian president deeply sought and that was a meeting with the president to establish that this new president of Ukraine had a powerful patron- the president of the United States,” he said.
“It was of vital importance to Ukraine was being conditioned on digging up dirt on the Bidens,” he said, referencing Trump’s focus on Biden’s efforts in Ukraine to stop a prosecution that involved his son, Hunter.
“First of all, there doesn’t need to be a quid pro quo, but it is clear already I think from the text messages that this meeting that the Ukraine president sought was being conditioned on their willingness to interfere in the U.S. election to help the president. That is a terrible abuse of the president’s power,” he said.
“Now whether that abuse goes further that is the withholding of military aid also as leverage. There’s certainly strong indications that that is true as well,” Schiff said.
The transcript of the call released by the White House made no mention of military aid.
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