Shouldn't Adam Schiff recuse himself from Russia probe now that he's been caught hobnobbing with Fusion GPS?

A while back, then-attorney general Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from the investigation into President Trump's campaign's supposed collusion with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.  The grounds for it?  Sessions had shaken hands and made small talk with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, meaning he had a conflict of interest.  Sessions, being the honorable naïf he was, obliged.

Well, now the shoe is on the other tootsie.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, who's vowed a kitchen sink–style investigation against President Trump (now that no Russian collusion has been found), has been caught in photographs taken at the Aspen security conference last year with none other than Hillary Clinton's bought-and-paid-for smear artist Glenn Simpson, chairman of Fusion GPS.

John Solomon of The Hill has the scoop on the pictures:

They show Schiff meeting at the event with Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson, one of the key and most controversial figures in the Russia collusion scandal. Both men insisted to me through spokesmen that they met only briefly last July.

At the time of the encounter, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee probe who had given sworn testimony about alleged, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Simpson ran the firm hired by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic Party to find dirt on Trump in Moscow.  He employed retired British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, whose infamous and unverified dossier became the main evidence for the FBI's probe of the Trump campaign, particularly the surveillance warrant against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

So here we have one of two things going on: Schiff has this friendly social relationship with Simpson that allows the two to get together at whatever conference they may find themselves at (think about how many people there are to meet at such a big conference and how many of them would have liked to meet with Schiff), and Schiff chooses to meet with Simpson from among all the people he could have kaffeeklatsched.  Schiff's buddy-buddy relationship with Simpson, who was the bankroller of the phony "pee dossier" from Christopher Steele, cobbled together by his buddies in Moscow in a bid to smear Trump, doesn't constitute a conflict of interest?

And that's the nicest way of explaining it.  Far more likely, Schiff is lying, and in reality, he was busy plotting with Simpson to smear Trump in the name of getting revenge for Hillary Clinton's refusal to campaign in Wisconsin.  What was he doing with Simpson other than something political?  And who's to say he's not still plotting with Simpson as he gears up his kitchen-sink investigation, something President Trump has called "harassment"?

Simpson is a central player in Schiff's Russia investigation of Trump, as well as a partisan operative with a history of discredited slimings.  That's not an investigation.  Working cheek to cheek with Simpson is nothing but a bid to make partisan slimings investigative fact and the basis for the use of political muscle to legally oust Trump.  This is partisan.  This is back-scratching at its worst.  This is a conflict of interest, in spades.

Where is the pressure for Schiff to recuse himself from this entire Russia farce?  Sessions did it.  It's now time for Schiff to live by these same rules he created for others.

Image credit: Caricature by DonkeyHotey via FlickrCC BY-SA 2.0.

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