House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff was awarded four “Pinocchios” by The Washington Post for his comments about contact with the whistleblower.
The California Democrat claimed in an interview last month that the members of his panel “have not spoken directly” with the person who filed the complaint about President Trump’s call with the leader of Ukraine which has now led to an impeachment inquiry by Democrats.
The Washington Post fact-checker declared Schiff’s statement was “flat-out false.”
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff said on MSNBC last month when asked about any interaction with the anonymous person.
“But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation,” he added.
The Democrat appeared to dodge the question by CNN’s Anderson Cooper just before his MSNBC appearance.
(Video: YouTube/Rep. Adam Schiff)
“Just to be clear, you don’t know who this alleged whistleblower is or what they are alleging?” Cooper asked.
“I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower,” Schiff responded.
“And they haven’t contacted you or their legal representation hasn’t contacted you?” Cooper pressed.
“I don’t want to get into any particulars. I want to make sure that there’s nothing that I do that jeopardizes the whistleblower in any way,” Schiff replied.
In his MSNBC interview on “Morning Joe,” Schiff “simply says the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower. Now we know that’s not true,” the fact-checker noted.
But it turns out that Schiff reportedly already knew about the complaint before it was even filed as one of his committee aides had informed him of it after speaking with the whistleblower directly.
A committee representative told Washington Post’s fact-checker that the congressman “intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not.”
“As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the Acting DNI as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear,” the representative continued.
According to the Washington Post fact-checker:
Here’s some more dissembling. Schiff says that if not for the IG, the committee might never have known about the complaint. But his committee knew that something explosive was going to be filed with the IG. As the New York Times put it, the initial inquiry received by the committee “also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”
Schiff’s “phrasing was misleading,” according to the fact-checker who gave the Democrat four Pinocchios – the highest rating for dishonest information – saying he “clearly made a statement that was false.”
“He now says he’s was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record,” the fact-checker said. “The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity.”
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