Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler has awarded California Rep. Adam Schiff four Pinocchios for claiming that the House Intelligence Committee had not spoken to the Ukraine call whistleblower.
The four Pinocchios designation represents the highest level of falsehood, reserved for “whoppers.”
Schiff, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, told commentator Sam Stein on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Sept. 17 that “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
“This is flat-out false,” Kessler wrote of Schiff’s claim. “Schiff simply says the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower. Now we know that’s not true.”
Kessler also noted that in a Sept. 16 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Schiff dodged the question of whether the whistleblower had contacted his committee.
While Schiff told Cooper that he did not “know the identity of the whistleblower,” his answer to the follow-up question was much less straightforward.
“And they haven’t contacted you or their legal representation hasn’t contacted you?” Cooper asked.
Schiff replied with an evasive statement that “I don’t want to get into any particulars.”
“He just simply did not answer the question,” Kessler wrote.
In the days following the release of the White House transcript of President Donald Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the subsequent release of the whistleblower’s complaint, Schiff has been in the news for his bombastic claims and mischaracterization of the president’s remarks.
On Sept. 25, Schiff said at a news conference that the transcript of Trump’s call reflected “a classic Mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.”
The very next day, he made an even bolder claim that the president “sacrificed our national security … for his personal political benefit.”
Schiff even made up quotations from the infamous phone call, reading an entirely fabricated version of the transcript during an Intelligence Committee meeting.
The California Democrat claimed that the false quotations were the “essence of what the president communicates.”
He later said his “summary” was “meant to be at least part in parody.”
Kessler’s finding that Schiff “clearly made a statement that was false” is surely welcome news for Trump, who has tweeted that “Adam Schiff has zero credibility.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.