Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had a ready-made excuse on why he broke a pledge to have the whistleblower who voiced concerns about President Trump’s phone call with the Ukraine president testify before the House.
The California Democrat appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and said that it’s Trump’s fault the whistleblower never testified.
“We had a deep interest in having the whistleblower testify until two things happened,” he explained. “One, we were able to prove everything in the whistleblower complaint with witnesses that had firsthand information.”
“Second, the president and his allies effectively put the whistleblower’s life in danger,” Schiff continued. “The president said the whistleblower and others should be treated as a traitor or a spy, and we ought to use the penalty we used to use for traitors and spies, and that is the death penalty.”
This is in reference to President Trump’s remarks in September to staffers with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations — the president was talking about the person who gave the whistleblower, who was not on the call with Ukraine, information about what was discussed.
“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that’s close to a spy,” Trump said, according to The New York Times. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”
The media construed this as a threat to the whistleblower.
“We don’t need the whistleblower’s secondhand evidence anymore,” Schiff said, acknowledging this was not a firsthand source. “It would only serve to endanger this person and gratify the president’s desire for retribution and that is not a good enough reason to bring in the whistleblower.
Schiff was noncommittal throughout the interview about whether Democrats will vote on articles of impeachment — which likely just means he has yet to receive instructions from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
NBC anchor Chuck Todd acted as if this was a foregone conclusion, and was so gentle in questioning the lawmaker that you would have thought he was interviewing a 12-year-old child. Todd sat like a toad on a stool as Schiff offered the ridiculous excuse that he didn’t want to gratify Trump’s blood lust.
Todd didn’t bother to mention that Schiff changed his mind on the whistleblower testifying after it was learned that the CIA official spoke with his staff on the Intel panel before filing his compliant against the president.
Acting more like a concerned ally than a journalist, Todd asked Schiff if he was “ready” if Republicans in the Senate call him as a witness should a trial take place in the upper chamber.
“If the Senate wants to call me as a witness, then they pretty much made the decision not to take this process seriously,” Schiff said. “I’m not a fact witness. I was a chairman of one of the committees doing an investigation. I’m not in the shoes of a special counsel, I don’t work for the Justice Department. All I can relate is what the witnesses said in deposition and in open hearings and that’s no reason to call me as a witness.”
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