Right matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters

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Posted: May 12, 2022

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“Right matters. Truth matters. Democracy matters.”

FLASHBACK – 3 YEARS

Lest We Forget

Less than one week after special counsel Robert Mueller issued a report about potential collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, nine Republican lawmakers who sit on the House Intelligence Committee demanded that the Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) resign from his position.

Mueller’s full report had not yet been shown to Congress; however, Attorney General William Barr issued a four-page summary of the 300-page report that said Mueller had turned up no evidence of collusion and that Mueller had declined to issue any further indictments.

Congressman Adam Schiff (California District 28) had been criticized by Republicans for claiming that there was “more than circumstantial evidence” that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign. “Your actions both past and present are incompatible with your duty as Chairman of this Committee,” the letter stated. “We have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties in a manner consistent with your Constitutional responsibility and urge your immediate resignation as Chairman of this Committee.” Then President Donald Trump also demanded that Schiff step down. “Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!” the president wrote on Twitter.

At a public hearing, Schiff recounted all the evidence collected by the special counsel’s office that he believed demonstrated President Trump behaved in a way that was unethical, corrupt, and unpatriotic. These are his words on March 28, 2019:

“I’m going to turn to our witnesses, who are the subject of the hearing today, but before I do, and as it — as you have chosen — instead of addressing the hearing — to simply attack me, consistent with the President’s attacks, I do want to respond in this way.

My colleagues may think it’s OK that the Russians offered ‘dirt’ on a Democratic candidate for president as part of what was described as the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign. You might think that’s OK,” Schiff told Republican lawmakers Thursday morning. “My colleagues might think it’s OK that when that was offered to the son of the president, who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president’s son did not call the FBI, he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help. No, instead that son said that he would ‘love’ the help of the Russians.

You might think it’s OK that he took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, someone with great experience at running campaigns, took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that the president’s son-in-law also took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that they concealed it from the public.

You might think it’s OK that their only disappointment from that meeting was that the dirt they received on Hillary Clinton wasn’t better. You might think it’s OK that when it was discovered, a year later, they then lied about that meeting and said that it was about adoptions. You might think that it’s OK that it was reported that the president helped dictate that lie. You might think that’s OK. I don’t.

You might think it’s OK that the campaign chairman of a presidential campaign would offer information about that campaign to a Russian oligarch in exchange for money or debt forgiveness. You might think that’s OK, I don’t.”

You might think it’s OK that that campaign chairman offered polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence. I don’t think that’s OK.” [Schiff was referring to court documents that said Manafort met with Konstantin Kilimnik, who is thought to be connected to Russian intelligence and gave him 2016 campaign polling data.] 

“You might think it’s OK that the president himself called on Russia to hack his opponent’s emails, if they were listening. You might think it’s OK that later that day the Russians attempted to hack a server affiliated with that campaign. I don’t think that’s OK.”

“You might think it’s OK that the president’s son-in-law attempted to establish a secret back channel of communication with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility. I don’t think that’s OK.”

“You might think it’s OK that an associate of the president made direct contact with the GRU [Russian military intelligence], through Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks, that is considered a hostile intelligence agency.” [Schiff is referring to Roger Stone, a longtime Trump associate who is said to have communicated with Guccifer, a hacker of Democratic National Committee data, as well as Wikileaks.]

“You might think it’s OK that a senior campaign official was instructed to reach that associate and find out what that hostile intelligence agency had to say in terms of dirt on his opponent. 

“You might think it’s OK that the national security adviser designate secretly conferred with the Russian ambassador, undermining U.S. sanctions, and you might think it’s OK that he lied about it to the FBI [referring to Michael Flynn]. “You might say that’s all OK, that’s what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK.”

“Now I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to proof of conspiracy was another matter. Whether the special counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt the proof of that crime would be up to the special counsel, and I would accept his decision, and I do. “But I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, is OK. And the day we do, think that’s OK, is the day we look back and say that is the day that America lost its way.” 

And I will tell you one more thing that is apropos of the hearing today. I don’t think it’s okay that during a presidential campaign, Mr. Trump sought the Kremlin’s help to consummate a real estate deal in Moscow that would make him a fortune — according to the special counsel hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t think it’s okay that he concealed it from the public. I don’t think it’s okay that he advocated a new and favorable policy towards the Russians even as he was seeking the Russians’ help — the Kremlin’s help — to make money.

I don’t think it’s okay that his attorney lied to our committee. There’s a different word for that than collusion — and it’s called “compromise.” And that is the subject of our hearing today.     See this remarkable speech here and remember it when you vote: https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/adamschiffyoumightthinkitsok.htm

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