FLASHBACK: Schiff Caught Telling Russian Pranksters He'd Take Ukrainian Dirt on Trump
Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz just resurfaced a two-year-old audiotape of House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) telling two Russian shock-jocks that he would "welcome the chance" take their non-existent dirty photos of President Trump.
If you'll recall from February of 2018, one of the radio hosts posed as a Ukrainian official who had information damaging to Trump, and was willing to share it with Schiff. Gaetz is smart to bring this up now, with Schiff working hard to impeach Trump for a phone call in which he didn't actually pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating Joe and Hunter Biden. With impeachment fever hitting triple digits in Washington (less so in the rest of the country), it's important to remember three things:
• Zelensky said his phone call with Trump was friendly, involved no pressure, and that virtually all the major news organizations clipped 540 words out of the middle of their conversation to make it appear otherwise.
• Joe Biden bragged about pressuring Ukraine into firing an investigator looking into his son Hunter, by threatening to withhold a billion dollars worth of aid.
• Schiff himself is no stranger to making stuff up, then claiming it was just a prank when he got caught.
Here's Gaetz's tweet with audio of the phone call:
Cute. I wonder who in his office put that together.
Here's more from the Fox News summary:
"So, you have recordings of both [Russian journalist Ksenia] Sobchak and [Russian model and singer Olga] Buzova where they're discussing the compromising material on Mr. Trump?" Schiff asked the callers posing as Parubiy.
"Absolutely," one of the pranksters responded.
"Well obviously we would welcome a chance to get copies of those recordings," Schiff said later in the call after he and the fake "Parubiy" go on to discuss more details of the bogus allegations.
One of the hosts bragged at the time that they'd given Schiff "a bunch of disinformation" and described the call as "completely absurd." Not that you can tell from anything Schiff said, even though you'd hope that the House Intel chair would have a better nose for sniffing out bad intel.
You want to know the really fun part? Schiff spent years pushing the fake Russian-collusion allegations, but shock-jocks Vladimir "Vovan" Kuznetsov and Alexey "Lexus" Stolyarov have "close ties to the Kremlin."
That would be Vladimir Putin's Kremlin. You know, the one Trump was supposed to have gotten help from to steal the election. Only here we hear Schiff, unknowingly but still, offering to accept help -- aid and comfort? -- from genuine Kremlin tools.
A Schiff spokesperson told The Atlantic's hyperpartisan Julia Ioffe last year that "Before agreeing to take the call, and immediately following it, the committee informed appropriate law enforcement and security personnel of the conversation, and of our belief that it was probably bogus." That still leaves the question of whether Schiff and his staff thought the call was bogus before or after Schiff agreed to take it, and before he said he'd "welcome the chance" to work with them.
So was Adam "The Prankster" Schiff just a victim of other pranksters, or would he have been genuinely happy to "collude" with foreign agents just to score political points? Both?
Maybe we'll never know, but big kudos to Congressman Gaetz for bringing this story back to our attention.