Anyone who has been following along over the last three years knows there’s a tense relationship between Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the truth. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and now-lead House impeachment manager has long been a prominent figure in the #Resistance movement against President Donald Trump, even lying to make his case — and now, he’s yet again been caught red-handed.
According to a Tuesday report from Politico, Schiff may have “mischaracterized” evidence used in the House’s impeachment inquiry — namely, “a text message exchange between two players in the Ukraine saga,” Politico reports.
Schiff misidentifies “Mr. Z”
It was just last week when Schiff sent a letter to fellow impeachment manager Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) that sought to summarize allegedly damning evidence obtained from Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani who was working with the attorney in Ukraine, though it is unclear exactly what he was doing.
In his letter, Schiff charged that Parnas was attempting to arrange a meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and pointed, as proof, to a text exchange between Parnas and Giuliani in which Parnas had written: “trying to get us mr Z.” Attached to the end of the letter was a host of other messages, all highly redacted.
However, an unredacted version of the text exchange has now been publicly released, and according to Politico, it reveals that Parnas was most likely not referring to President Zelensky at all, but rather, was talking about a Ukrainian oligarch named Mykola Zlochevsky. Zlochevsky founded Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian natural gas company that employed Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, in a lucrative position on its board of directors.
The remainder of the exchange shows Parnas sent Giuliani a text that read “mr Z answers my brother” along with a Word document that contained notes from an interview with Zlochevsky. While Zlochevsky wasn’t specifically named in that document, the context of the responses reportedly made it clear that it was the oligarch — and not the president — that Parnas was referencing.
Speaking to Politico, an unnamed Democrat official involved in the impeachment charade didn’t dispute the outlet’s conclusion, but insisted that “Z” is a common shorthand for Zelensky and that it is known that Giuliani and Parnas were attempting to arrange a meeting with the Ukrainian president.
But no matter how you spin it, it’s clear Schiff stretched the truth — and an unnamed senior Republican aide told Politico that, at best, Schiff’s slant amounted to what the outlet called “sloppy oversight work.”
“The most charitable view of the situation is that [Schiff’s] staff committed the equivalent of congressional malpractice by not looking more than an inch deep to determine the facts before foisting this erroneous information on his colleagues and the American public,” Politico’s source said, according to the Daily Caller.
The aide went on: “But given the selective redactions and contextual clues, it seems as though Chairman Schiff sought to portray an innocuous meeting with Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky as an insidious one with the president of Ukraine simply because both of their surnames start with the letter Z.”
But while the Republican aide who spoke with Politico may have been willing to offer up a “charitable view” of Schiff’s glaring mistake, others are unlikely to be quite so forgiving — not after Schiff’s well-documented problems with the truth.
Indeed, this is the same man who swore repeatedly that he saw damning evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, only for that to be false; who was completely wrong when it came to abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the FBI; who vowed that Robert Mueller’s investigation would result in Trump’s demise; and, most recently, who “parodied” a phone conversation between Trump and Zelensky when an actual transcript of the call was publicly available. How can he ever be trusted again?