OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
ABC’s “The View” guest co-host Morgan Ortagus confronted California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff over his role in promoting the discredited anti-Trump Steele dossier.
During a testy segment Tuesday on the ABC program, Ortagus accused Schiff — who was on the show to promote his new book — of spreading Russian disinformation through his promotion of the dossier and suggested his credibility had been diminished because of his actions.
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
ORTAGUS: “So I want to ask you about something that’s in the news a lot right now. You’ve been really prolific over the past two years being the head of the Intel Committee, and you defended and promoted, you even read into the congressional record of the Steele dossier. We know last week the main source of the dossier was indicted by the FBI for lying about most of the key claims in that dossier. Do you have any reflections on your role in promoting this to the American people?”
SCHIFF: “Well, first of all, whoever lied to the FBI or lied to Christopher Steele should be prosecuted, and they are. And unlike in the Trump administration, if they’re convicted, they should go to jail, not be pardoned. So, Donald Trump pardoned Roger Stone for lying. He pardoned Michael Flynn for lying. If people lied to the FBI, they should go to jail. But at the beginning of the Russian investigation, I said that any allegations should be investigated. We couldn’t have known for example, people were lying to Christopher Steele. So it was proper to investigate them. And let’s not forget what we learned in that investigation. We learned that the Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort was giving internal polling data, campaign polling data to Russian intelligence while Russian intelligence was helping the Trump campaign.”
ORTAGUS: “And to be clear, he was fired halfway through the campaign.”
SCHIFF: “Well, he may have been fired —“
SCHIFF: “— but the — the effort to get Russian help continued, and even beyond the effort to get Russian help.”
ORTAGUS: “But you make false —“
SCHIFF: “The president also sought to get —“ [crosstalk]
ORTAGUS: “— spread disinformation yourself for years by promoting this. I think that’s what Republicans and what people who entrusted you as the Intel Committee chair are so confused about your culpability in all of this.”
SCHIFF: “Well, I — I completely disagree with the premise. It’s one thing to say allegations should be investigated and they were, it’s another to say that we should have foreseen in advance that some people were lying to Christopher Steele, which is impossible, of course, to do. But, let’s not use that as a smoke screen to somehow shield Donald Trump’s culpability for inviting Russia to help him in the election, which they did, for trying to force Ukraine into helping him in the next election, which he did, into inciting an insurrection, which he did. None of that is undercut. None of that serious misconduct is in any way diminished by the fact that people lied to Christopher Steele.”
ORTAGUS: “No. I think just your credibility is.”