The Democrats collusion narrative is presented by Rep. Schiff, and it is easily torn to confetti.
You may have seen the trending hashtag #IStandWithSchiff floating around social media since yesterday. This was the result of a self-deluded rant Rep. Adam Schiff delivered during the first hearing taking place following the conclusion of the Robert Mueller collusion investigation.
Republicans on the panel of the Intelligence Committee hearing called for Schiff to step down, a result of his nearly two years of accusations and grandstanding regarding his belief of collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign. In response Schiff launched into a diatribe that was full of delusion and bluster, and extremely light on facts and provable charges. Here is his uninterrupted monologue.
.@RepAdamSchiff: "You might say that's all okay. You might say that's just what you need to do to win, but I don't think it's okay. I think it's immoral. I think it's unethical. I think it's unpatriotic. And yes, I think it's corrupt and evidence of collusion." pic.twitter.com/AaO59iriAI
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 28, 2019
What needs to be addressed, of course, is that the posturing sternness may appear to some as a man of deep convictions, but it takes analysis of his claims to see Rep. Schiff was delivering little more than balloon juice. To be sure, for some on the left who have been adrift since Sunday’s revelation that their 2 year fantasy of bringing down the President has ended, this bold stance was a sense of relief, and inspired them to rush off to join the hashtag battalions.
But Schiff’s speech here was basically just a recitation of most of the charges from the past 2+ years of Russian allegations. He touches on many of the familiar points, notes a few other arcane specifics, but essentially levels a litany of accusations that have been proven false already in the press.
To underscore his baseless hysterics allow here for a forensic exploration of what the Representative from California does not think is okay. I will address his claims in a point-by-point manner to show how he, and the general media complex, has been selling a myth of “proven” Russian collusion.
My colleagues might think it’s okay that the Russians offered dirt on a Democratic candidate for President.
Campaigns do this. The collection of opposition research is a norm for any campaign, concerning both parties. As proof, look at the fact that Hillary Clinton, and the DNC, instigated this very type of oppo-research on the Trump campaign as well. Does the fact that the supposed intel derived from Russia make it worse?
You may need to ask Hillary. The Clinton campaign and the DNC hired Fusion GPS, which then paid George Steele to compile research on Donald Trump, based on intel he collected from his Russian contacts. Anyone who thinks this may be a Trump-based fever dream theory can look into the details made by conservative conspiracy site The Washington Post, or the GOP tin-hat nutters at The New York Times.
This Russian intel became the Steele Dossier. This means that the entire investigation to find out if Donald Trump POSSIBLY used Russian intel on Hillary was based on the fact that Hillary PROVABLY used intel on Trump that came from Russia. The very fact that nobody is interested in Hillary’s Russian oppo-research underscores the sham the collusion investigation has been.
My colleagues may think it’s okay that when that was offered to the son of the President that the President’s son did not contact the FBI; he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help. No, instead that son said that he would love the help from the Russians.
Two points here, as Schiff is referencing the Trump Tower meeting. First, note that he says “offered” in this charge. This means that Russia was reaching out, not the campaign. They had preexisting intel; they were not bidden to go after it by anyone in Trump’s orbit. Second, this differs from the Hillary campaign Russian efforts because she sought out the intel, from the Russians, and it was paid for – not offered. Once they obtained that Russian intel (the Steele Dossier) they did go to the FBI — in order to weaponize the information and charge Trump with crimes.
In addition, the Hillary camp also turned to Ukrainian officials for oppo-research and efforts to combat Trump. Politico detailed how her campaign reached out to government officials who promised to have dirt (to use Schiff’s parlance) on Manafort. The campaign operative also said she could have the Ukrainian embassy work directly with reporters to uncover oppo-research on both Manafort and Trump.
So again, nobody — including Mr. Schiff — is the least bit bothered that Hillary was enacting the very things they are accusing Trump of doing. It is a remarkable blindspot to witness.
(Schiff mentions that Paul Manafort, and the President’s son in law Jared Kushner were also at that meeting.) You might think it’s okay that they concealed it from the public. You might think it’s okay that their only disappointment after that meeting was the dirt they received about Hillary Clinton wasn’t better.
Gathering of oppo-research is not something you make public, lest you tip off your opponent what you may have. Did Hillary and the DNC announce it when they contacted Russia for intel? Did they have a press release when they were brokering with the Ukrainian government? No, they did not.
The meeting Schiff refers to was staged by business contacts Trump Jr. had from working with the Miss Universe Pageant, held in Moscow. They put them in contact with a lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. Once at the meeting Veselinski was focused not on Hillary but instead on laws concerning Russian adoptions.
You might think it’s okay that when it was discovered a year later that they lied about that meeting, and said it was about adoptions.
What Schiff is calling a “lie” is the actual activity surrounding that meeting. While they entertained her offer Veselnitskaya was solely interested in discussing the Magnitsky Act, and Russian adoptions. Once they discovered that there was nothing further being discussed it was at that point the Trump team curtailed the meeting. That is, nothing actually transpired.
You might think it’s okay that the campaign chairman of a Presidential campaign would offer information about that campaign to a Russian oligarch in exchange for money or debt forgiveness.
This references Paul Manafort’s move of sharing the details with Konstantin Kilimnik, who is actually a Ukrainian, and who was a longtime business associate of Manafort’s. The move was not campaign related but to aid in personal finances involving Manafort, and was a crucial aspect of him becoming removed from the Trump campaign after just a few months as campaign manager. The relevaltions led to his dismissal, which indicates they did NOT think it was okay. There was no involvement in campaign manipulations or aiding in the election work.
You might think it’s okay that the President himself called on Russia to hack his opponent’s emails if they were listening. You might think it’s okay that an associate of the President made direct contact with the GRU, through Guccifer 2 and Wikileaks.
This is the longtime charge that the reason the Russians hacked the emails was due to the urging of Trump to do so. This is a farce, built upon a sarcastic comment Trump made in his speeches at the time based on the news that the hacking had taken place. This is also Schiff relying on the debunked bombshell that Donald Trump Jr. was imploring about the emails that Wikileaks had, when in fact they had already been made public.
The GRU had hacked the DNC emails and John Podesta’s in April of 2016. They brokered the deal to sell those to Wikileaks by June of that year, and they were then posted online in July. Trump began making his comments about how they should “find the 30,000 emails” (“find”, not “hack”, take note) based on the fact that they had released information, so he did not inspire them to go hack the DNC
You might think it’s okay that the National Security Advisor designate secretly conferred with a Russian Ambassador, about undermining US sanctions.
This is the reference to Michael Flynn’s meeting that landed him in trouble with Robert Mueller’s team. They had learned of the meeting that Flynn had, prior to the inauguration, and therefore it was a conflict with the current Obama administration’s foreign policy. But the Flynn meeting took place in December, 2016. That is, it took place after the election. Still, here is Schiff saying – You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. There is no way that can be considered a factor of “what you need do to win”, as there is no way that was considered colluding with the Russians to sway the election — the election had already been resolved.
But I don’t think it’s okay. I think it’s immoral. It’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. And yes, I think it’s corrupt, and evidence of collusion.
Lying, misrepresenting facts, and making false charges is not immoral, nor unethical we are left to assume here. Also, Mr. Schiff, levelling charges for over two years in an attempt to disqualify the sitting President is almost the very definition of unpatriotic behavior. And frankly, it matters little if you “think” it is corrupt, and evidence of collusion. There needs to be tangible, measurable evidence of corruption and collusion.
Now I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to the proof of conspiracy was another matter. Whether the Special Counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt the proof of that crime would be up to the Special Counsel, I would accept his decision, and I do.
These closing comments by Schiff are completely unraveled by his prior speech. He already declared it amounted to proof. The Mueller Report states there was no proof of collusion. Those on the left, such as Mr. Schiff, are clinging bitterly onto the case that President Trump was not fully exonerated of the charge of obstruction of justice. But as has been reported, Mueller’s call on that matter was there was no determination on the obstruction of justice charges. That means he did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt there was obstruction on behalf of the President. So Schiff is blatantly contradicting himself — he is desperately clutching to that reasonable doubt, so he has not accepted any decision.
Adam Schiff clearly does not want us to explore the factual details, evidenced by his closing remarks. He wants us to believe he will calmly accept that there was no provable collusion in the Trump campaign, all while trotting out claims that have been proven otherwise, long ago.
In fact you get the sense that Mr. Schiff is not so firm in his own bloviating on the stand. As Newsweek reported, following his posturing monologue Schiff refused to yield to the Republicans, in order to allow for a response, going so far as shutting off the mic of at least one member. There may be no better way to show how weak his argument is than his disallowing any contradictory testimony.