In an interview on Sunday with Jonathan Karl on ABC News’ “This Week,” Rep. Adam Schiff acknowledged it wouldn’t be “appropriate” for Democrats to receive any assistance from the Ukrainian government, but he suggested the alleged scandal involving Donald Trump Jr. and people claiming to have damaging information given by the Russian government is much worse.
In January, Politico published an investigative story connecting Ukrainian government officials to a Democrat operative. The operative allegedly used information passed from the Ukrainian government to help Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign in their fight against Donald Trump, who the Ukrainians believed to be too friendly with the Russian government.
According to Politico’s report, which Karl read from before asking Schiff a question about the event, “a Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the DNC met with top officials in the Ukrainian embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia. The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in this race, helping force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that the Trump campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”
“I understand Hillary Clinton lost,” Karl said to Schiff, “and I understand this effort was not as elaborate as the Russian effort, but was it acceptable, or would it have been acceptable for the Democrats to accept help from the Ukrainian government in this campaign?”
“No, it would be appropriate for the Democrats to get help from the Ukrainian government,” replied Schiff. “But I think if you look at the Politico article, and we’re talking about just a single article here, if you accept all the facts in the article, the scale of what the Russians did is not comparable to anything in that article.”
“If it were, the comparable analogy would be that the Ukrainian president directed the Ukrainian intelligence agencies to steal, to hack, Donald Trump’s campaign, steal e-mails, publish them, directed a social media army to influence the election, and sat down — its representatives sat down with Chelsea Clinton and John Podesta in which they indicated they wanted the dirt op Donald Trump,” Schiff said. “There’s no suggestion anything of that magnitude [inaudible].”
“The scale is different. … But the meeting is problematic? This Ukrainian meeting is problematic, in your eyes?” Karl asked.
“Well, it would be problematic to get any kind of support from a foreign government,” Schiff said. “But, again, I think to compare the two is like a bit like comparing bank robbery with writing a check with insufficient funds. Both appropriate money from the bank improperly, but a very different degree of seriousness and involvement in the case by a foreign government.”
As the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff has been one of the Trump administration’s staunchest critics and most skeptical opponents, especially on the issue of possible Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.
Schiff’s comments came just days after a new report revealed at least eight people were present at the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer claiming to have Kremlin-linked damaging knowledge about Hillary Clinton, information Trump Jr. failed to disclose in previous statements about the controversial meeting. NBC News also reported on Friday one of the attendees at the meeting was a former Soviet counterintelligence officer.
President Donald Trump and Trump Jr. have both denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the importance of these reports. On Sunday, Trump wrote on Twitter, “HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?”
HillaryClinton can illegally get the questions to the Debate & delete 33,000 emails but my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News Media?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2017
Posted in ABC News, Adam Schiff, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Politics, Russia, Russia Collusion
Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly said there didn’t seem to be much to the story detailing a meeting between a Russian lawyer and members of the Trump campaign before the election, but said that Trump Jr. should have revealed the meeting sooner.
“So the story is that Donald Trump Jr. and his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort who for a short
time managed the trump campaign,” O’Reilly explained in a video at his website, “met with a Russian attorney who knows people in the Kremlin shortly after the Indiana primary, which pretty much sewed everything up for Trump as the Republican nominee.”
“Now the story is interesting,” he added. “It’s interesting, is it any more than that? No, not at this point.”
“But if you look at CNN and MSNBC,” he said, mocking the liberal channels, “Oh Russian collusion! All of that. OK fine.”
“You knew they were gonna do it,” he continued, apparently addressing Donald Trump Jr. “You knew the reason the New York Times dropped it when Trump came back was thinking of another news cycle here, they could resume the Russian collusion narrative. That’s what’s in play. Keep it going, keep it alive.”
“Now, I don’t know what happened,” O’Reilly added. “Trump Jr. says he met with the woman because she had, she said she had some kind of dirt on Hillary Clinton. And so they met with her, and she didn’t have anything and they talked Russian adoption for 20 minutes, and everybody split.”
“OK, did that happen?” he asked rhetorically. “Is that true? I have no blankin’ idea. That’s what Trump Jr. says.”
“He shoulda said it three months ago!” he loudly exclaimed. “You know, get it all out! Any Russian restaurant. Any Russian movie. Anything! Get it out!!”
The New York Times story exposing the meeting was published Sunday, with some Trump critics responding by accusing Trump Jr. of committing treason. Trump Jr. has since hired additional legal counsel to defend himself, and denied all the accusations, saying he was merely looking into opposition research, something many campaigns do.
Obviously I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent… went nowhere but had to listen. https://t.co/ccUjL1KDEa
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 10, 2017
The meeting was revealed when Kushner revised his declarations on a form to obtain security clearance. He had previously not disclosed the meeting with the Russian lawyer, in addition to other meetings he added in the revision.
Posted in Bill O'Reilly, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Politics, Russia Collusion, Russian interference, Russian investigation