Ohio Congressman Brad Wenstrup did not hold back when he got a chance behind the microphone at Thursday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing on the much-debated phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to a whistleblower complaint.
Wenstrup started by ripping apart Adam Schiff for opening the hearing by presenting fake dialogue from the phone call. The actual transcript of the call has been released, but Schiff decided to improvise and push a false narrative anyway.
“I think it’s a shame that we started off this hearing with fictional remarks, the implication of a conversation that took place between the president and a foreign leader, putting words into it that did not exist and that are not in the transcript,” Wenstrup said.
The Republican lawmaker accused Schiff of being deliberately confusing in order to trick Americans — Congressman Devin Nunes was equally as critical of Democrats during the hearing.
“And I will contend that those [remarks] were intentionally not clear and the chairman described it as parody and I don’t believe that this is the time or the place for parody when we are trying to seek facts,” he said.
Wenstrup went on to say that the media will likely help paint a false narrative around the phone call by only playing the clip of Schiff’s “improvised” dialogue, leading some to believe the words Schiff puked out to be real — even though they are not.
“Unfortunately, today many innocent Americans are going to turn on their [televisions] and the media is only going to show that section of what the chairman had to say, but I’m also glad to know that many Americans have seen this movie too many times and they’re tired of it,” Wenstrup said.
Schiff’s “parody” was meant to give weight to accusations that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president in the phone call to give dirt on Joe Biden, who has a long history of being accused of corruption and ties to his son Hunter’s business dealings in places like Ukraine and China. The Ukrainian president himself said no one pushed him to do anything during the call, and the transcript pokes plenty of holes in narratives from Democrats, but that doesn’t stop people like Schiff.
When Wenstrup questioned Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, the congressman continued to poke holes into accusations surrounding the call.
Asked whether the inspector general had seen a transcript of the call in question before deeming the whistleblower’s complaint “credible,” Maguire admitted he had not. This is huge. This means we now arguably have more evidence regarding this matter than the inspector general did. With the transcript of the call actually available, this whole circus should be recognized as just another nothing-burger Democrats are desperately clinging to.
Maguire also warned that the report of the call and the following investigation may be harmful to the White House and its relations to foreign countries as “people may reduce their communications with the president” because of the complaint about this Ukraine call.
Wenstrup finished up his time by arguing that the “14-day rule” when it comes to whistleblower complaints may be outdated. The rule in place is that the inspector general has two weeks to determine whether a complaint is credible. In this specific case, one could argue the 14-day rule worked against the inspector general since Maguire admitted the credibility decision was made before the inspector even saw the transcript of the call.
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