Whose hand is caught in the cookie jar now? The New York Times (of all places!) is reporting that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had knowledge of the whistleblower Complaint, before it was released to the public. His knowledge of the Complaint was so detailed, that is seems a very real possibility that “Shifty” Schiff wrote it himself!
As the Times reported, a spokesman for Schiff has acknowledged for the first time that the whistleblower alleging misconduct in the White House had reached out to Schiff’s panel before filing the Complaint — prompting President Trump, in an extraordinary afternoon news conference at the White House, to accuse Schiff directly of helping write the document.
Schiff had previously claimed in a televised interview that “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.” A Schiff spokesperson seemingly narrowed that claim late Wednesday, telling Fox News that Schiff himself “does not know the identity of the whistleblower, and has not met with or spoken with the whistleblower or their counsel” for any reason.
When asked about the Times report, which came out just before the President was holding a press conference with the President of Finland, Trump replied, “It shows that Schiff is a fraud. … I think it’s a scandal that he knew before. I’d go a step further. I’d say he probably helped write it. … That’s a big story. He knew long before, and he helped write it too. It’s a scam.”
Referring to Schiff — a Trump antagonist who has long claimed to have surefire evidence that Trump illegally conspired with Russians — as “Shifty Schiff,” Trump characterized Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as a “fraudulent crime on the American people.” This after in Tweets earlier in the day, where Trump attacked the “Impeachment Inquiry” “BULLSHIT,” and mocked Schiff as a partisan “lowlife.”
At the press conference, Trump continued to lay into Schiff, suggesting that the Chairman had a “mental breakdown” and may have committed a crime by reciting an inaccurate, exaggerated version of a transcript of Trump’s fateful July call with Ukraine’s leader — a move that Schiff himself later apologetically acknowledged was a “parody.”
Responding to Trump’s comments, whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid said in a statement to Fox News, “I can unequivocally state that neither any member of the legal team nor the whistleblower has ever met or spoken with Congressman Schiff about this matter.”
This was all kicked off by the New York Times bombshell report that Schiff “learned about the outlines” of the whistleblower’s complaint “days before” it was filed.
Schiff’s Office Confirms Times Reporting of Prior Knowledge
Speaking to Fox News, Schiff’s office denied that the intelligence committee had reviewed or received the complaint in advance, but largely confirmed the Times’ reporting.
“Like other whistleblowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled Committees, the whistleblower contacted the Committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the Intelligence Community,” Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News. “This is a regular occurrence, given the Committee’s unique oversight role and responsibilities. Consistent with the Committee’s longstanding procedures, Committee staff appropriately advised the whistleblower to contact an Inspector General and to seek legal counsel.”
Boland went on to assert that the whistleblower should be “commended.”
Other GOP sources told Fox News that the development was unsettling and undermined the integrity of the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.
“This is totally unsurprising,” a Republican official close to the matter told Fox News. “Schiff was clearly involved in orchestrating this from the very beginning.”