Up Schiff’s Creek Without a Paddle
Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune. Not wishing such on anyone, but instead enjoying a smile or a laugh when karma returns to bite someone on the rear end.
Today schadenfreude is in the midwinter air, blowing briskly over hapless Congressman Adam Schiff, a frequent flier on Sunday talk shows and cable news interviews. As the ranking member of the House Select Intelligence Committee, he is in the thick of the recently released memos revealing how Hillary Clinton bought her way under the tent of the Trump campaign via the Obama justice and intelligence agencies.
Congressman Schiff was punked by a couple of Russian radio comedians last year, with the story recently coming to light. Schiff was called by “Vovan” and “Lexus,” promising compromising dirt on Donald Trump, “including nude photos of the president and a Russian reality show star.”
Great stuff to fan the flames of impeachment. Or at least cripple the presidency.
Schiff, of course, assures everyone that from the get go, he knew the call was bogus. Oh really?
Then why take the call? An important politician like Schiff is busy. Or should be. Between interviews on CNN and MSNBC, he hardly has time for a bathroom break. Yet he had time for this “eight-minute conversation.” Fat chance you or I could get our local representative on the phone at all, much less for eight minutes.
Then just as anyone else participating in a prank call would not do, “Schiff appeared to be taking notes on the conversation and repeatedly asked for spellings of names and documentation he could send to the FBI.” Quite an effort if he knew the call was bogus.
At the conclusion of the eight-minute phone call, Schiff said, “I'll be in touch with the FBI about this. And we'll make arrangements with your staff. I think it probably would be best to provide these materials both to our committee and to the FBI.” Really? He knew it was a prank yet he said this? Wasting the time of his committee and the FBI with nonsense?
So we are to believe the congressman and his staff had nothing better to do but continue playing along with the Russian gag? The next day a Schiff aide called Vocan and Lexus saying, “I understand Mr. Schiff had a productive call with Mr. Parubiy, and that Mr. Parubiy would like to make some material available to Mr. Schiff through your embassy.”
Still supposedly playing along with the joke, the Schiff aide asked the comedians, “Do you know when we might be able to meet your colleagues at the Ukrainian embassy here in Washington, D.C. to pick up materials?”
Now a Schiff staffer says, “Both before and after the call, we were aware that it was likely bogus and had already alerted appropriate law enforcement personnel, as well as after the call.” When I get a crank call, I hang up. I don’t take notes, talk for eight minutes, or call back the next day.
If members of Congress and their staffs have so much free time on their hands as to be playing spy games on the taxpayer dime, they should be working for TMZ, not the American taxpayer. Or as I suspect, Schiff bought the story hook, line, and sinker. Ecstatic over his good luck in being handed oppositional dirt on a political opponent.
Rather than hanging up the phone, he was giddy over the Trump nude photos, ready to leak them to his favorite reporters across town.
Let’s now go back to June 9, 2016. The infamous meeting in Trump Tower between senior Trump campaign staff, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veseinitskaya. A meeting supposedly for the Trump campaign to be given opposition research on Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Schiff had plenty to say about this meeting and a possible Russian offer of dirt on a political opponent. In a press conference, Schiff called this, “Very significant, deeply disturbing new public information about direct contacts between Russia and the very center of the Trump family, campaign and organization.”
He thought the meeting might have been a “testing of the waters by the Russians to see if the campaign would be receptive to their engagement and involvement in the election.”
So the Russian government had damaging information about Trump’s political opponent, Hillary Clinton, and approached the Trump campaign to see if they would be “receptive to their engagement and involvement.”
Notice the similarities? Just like the Schiff prank of Russians approaching the congressman with damaging information about his political opponent, Donald Trump, to see if Schiff would be “receptive to their engagement and involvement.”
So Schiff is caught redhanded doing exactly what he accused the Trump campaign of doing. When the Russians approach Trump with dirt on a political opponent, that calls for special prosecutors, congressional committees, and impeachment.
Yet when the Russians approach a senior Member of Congress with dirt on a political opponent, and the congressman plays along, far longer than the Trump campaign did (Jared Kushner, present at the Trump Tower meeting, walked out after seven minutes), he can laugh it off as a prank that he was in on from the get-go.
Nice try, Mr. Schiff. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. How about an investigation of you colluding with a foreign power in an attempt to undermine a duly elected president? Shouldn’t you recuse yourself from anything to do with Trump or Russia over this? Jeff Sessions did.
On this caper, Congressman, you are up Schiff’s creek without a paddle.