Unless you have Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) or are a “Never-Trumper,” you have a particular disdain for all things concerning House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). The kind of disdain where if you met him and he extended his hand, you’d have an internal debate as to whether to shake it or not. If the claim by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) holds its weight, you’d be justified in feeling that way about Schiff.
The Editorial Board for the Wall Street Journal published an article in their “Opinion” section on Tuesday where they make the claim that “Newly released documents show [Schiff] knew all along that there was no proof of Russia-Trump collusion."
“President Trump often spreads falsehoods and invents facts, but at least he’s paid a price for it in media criticism and public mistrust,” the board wrote in their conclusion. “An industry of media fact checkers is dedicated to parsing his every word. As for Mr. Schiff, no one should ever believe another word he says.”
So - justifiably or not - if we were to call the Wall Street Journal a biased publication in some ways, even they admit that Schiff isn’t close to being held to the same truth-telling standards as Trump.
How did the Journal come to this conclusion? They based it off transcripts Schiff himself released while under pressure to do so. After the Editorial Board gave multiple examples of Schiff telling different media outlets that he had evidence Trump’s collusion with Russia, they referenced the newly released documents.
According to the WSJ:
None of this was true, and Mr. Schiff knew it. In July 2017, here’s what former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Mr. Schiff and his colleagues: “I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.” Three months later, former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed that while she’d seen “concerning” information, “I don’t recall anything being briefed up to me.” Former Deputy AG Sally Yates concurred several weeks later: “We were at the fact-gathering stage here, not the conclusion stage.”[…]
On it went, a parade of former Obama officials who declared under oath they’d seen no evidence of collusion or conspiracy—Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power. Interviews with Trump campaign or Administration officials also yielded no collusion evidence. Mr. Schiff had access to these transcripts even as he claimed he had “ample” proof of collusion and wrote his false report.
Trump himself tweeted about the WSJ opinion piece:
“Newly released documents show Schiff knew all along there was no proof of Russia-Trump collusion.” Wall Street Journal— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2020
Should it be concretely proven that Schiff was and still is a liar, where do we go from there? Does the Department of Justice (DOJ) charge Schiff with perjury or do they go straight to treason charges? If it’s eventually proven that Schiff tried to remove a president from office under false pretenses, why would it not be treason?
Maybe the final question the WSJ Editorial Board asked in their article is more prudent.
“The question we’d ask our friends in the media is when are they going to stop playing the fool by putting him on the air?”