WASHINGTON – Rep. Adam Schiff Sunday conceded he should have “been much more clear” in explaining the whistleblower’s contact with his House Intelligence Committee.
The leader of the impeachment probe expressed regret for claiming last month his committee hadn’t spoken to the whistleblower who raised concerns about a conversation between President Trump and his counterpart in the Ukraine — when in fact the anonymous official had approached an aide to Schiff for guidance on reporting wrongdoing before filing a complaint.
“I should have been much more clear and I said so the minute it was brought to my attention,” Schiff told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“I was referring to the fact that when the whistleblower filed the complaint, we had not heard from the whistleblower. We wanted to bring the whistleblower in at that time. But I should’ve been much more clear about that.”
The whistleblower’s complaint sparked the House’s impeachment probe into President Trump. Schiff is leading the inquiry and has caught heat for the misleading claims, and for doing a parody of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Sept. 17.
The Washington Post fact-checker gave Schiff “four Pinocchios” for that claim.
Various House Republicans have called for Schiff to step down as committee chair and be censured on the House floor.
“What Adam Schiff wants is to get United States of America drunk on his favorite cocktail,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said Sunday on ABCs “This Week.” “There’s three ingredients. One is cherry-picking leaks, second is withholding facts, and three is just outright lying.”
On Saturday, Trump threatened to “sue” Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “lying” about the whistleblower complaint and his phone call with the Ukraine president.
“Or maybe we should just impeach them because they are lying and what they are doing is a terrible thing for the country,” Trump told a ballroom of religious conservatives at the Values Voter Summit.
“We’re going after these people,” Trump said. “They are bad, bad people.”
But Democrats claim Trump is just trying to deflect from the whistleblower’s allegations that Trump invited foreign interference into the 2020 election when he asked the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.
“Here you have a president of the United States abusing his power to the detriment of our national security and doing so to get yet another foreign country to intervene in our election,” Schiff said. “It’s hard to imagine more of a corruption of his office than that.”