California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff read a portion of a transcript of a telephone conversation between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee — but the congressman largely fabricated the president’s words.
Schiff claimed he was reading “the essence” of the president’s words to the committee’s witness, Acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire.
“This is the essence of what the president communicates. We’ve been very good to your country, very good, no other country has done as much as we have, but you know what, I don’t see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good.”
The congressman on Wednesday compared Trump’s words to Volodymyr Zelensky as akin to a “Mafia-like shakedown” and he apparently read that perception into his interpretation of the transcript of that conversation.
Schiff continued, making it up as he went along: “I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand, lots of it, on this and on that. I’m going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, I’m going to put you in touch with the attorney general of the United States, my attorney general Bill Barr. He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him.”
While some muffled laughter could be heard throughout Schiff's speech, Republicans took to Twitter to condemn the parody. Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump's 2020 campaign, hit out at the California representative for having "literally just made up his own transcript."
"Rather than reading from the actual transcript, he made up a new one," McEnany said. "What a HACK!"
In a separate statement, Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik said: "It is disturbing and outrageous that Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff opens up a hearing of this importance with improvised fake dialogue between President Trump and President Zelensky."
"We should focus on the facts," Stefanik said.
Over at FoxNews.com, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz has his own thoughts on Schiff's conduct:
Once again, the rhetoric from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has been discredited by facts. With the release of the rough transcript of the July 25 call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Trump, Schiff's prediction that it would show Trump had "crossed the Rubicon" has failed to materialize.
There was no quid pro quo – no "browbeating" of a foreign leader. Just two heads of state talking about Ukraine's role in 2016 U.S. election interference and discussing getting to the bottom of the corruption that has spilled over between the two countries.
With his history of deliberately distorting the truth, secretly disclosing classified information, and openly converting the House Intelligence Committee into a partisan opposition research operation, Schiff has repeatedly proven he cannot be trusted.
It's no surprise that the Trump administration initially balked at turning over sensitive information to a congressional committee led by Schiff, as it did last week. Schiff has shown himself to be a fierce partisan with little commitment to truth or discretion.
Schiff has tarnished the stellar reputation of the House Intelligence Committee through his unprofessional, unethical, and quite unprecedented leaks. Removal of his security clearance would force Pelosi to replace him. But it shouldn't take that long. She should act now to restore the integrity of this important committee.