OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Democrat California Rep. Adam Schiff got wrecked when he came face to face with Donald Trump’s former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
Ortagus went after Schiff directly this week when she shredded him over his role in promoting the discredited anti-Trump Steele dossier when she was a guest co-host on the ABC Daytime show “The View.”
Schiff was on the show to promote his new book, but he got more than he bargained for when Ortagus accused him of possibly promoting Russian disinformation.
“I want to ask you about something that’s in the news a lot right now,” she said to the representative as she began to discuss his role in promoting the Steele dossier. “We know, last week, the main source was indicted for lying about most of the key claims in that dossier,” she said. “Do you have any reflections on your role in promoting this to the American people?”
“Well, first of all, whoever lied to the FBI or lied to Christopher Steele should be prosecuted, and they are,” the representative said. “And unlike in the Trump administration, if they’re convicted, they should go to jail and not be pardoned.” He said that “we couldn’t have known” that people were “lying” to Steele so it was “proper to investigate” the dossier and its claims that Trump was compromised by the Russians.
“And let’s not forget what we learned in that investigation,” he said. “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.”
After he danced around the question Ortagus came right at him again.
“You spread disinformation yourself, for years, by promoting this,” she said, noting that many people were concerned about “your culpability in all of this.”
“Well, I completely disagree with the premise,” he said. “It’s one thing to say that 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 coerce 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.”
“No, I think just your credibility is,” she responded, in a crushing blow.
She appeared on Fox News on Wednesday and admitted that she was nervous when she finally got the chance to confront Rep. Schiff.
“I will say that in the moment, I’ll confess, my hands were shaking a little because I knew it was just incredibly important in that moment to be able to hold him accountable, not for the Republican Party but for everybody who wants to seek truth and justice,” she said.
“Morgan, I was trying to deconstruct that whole thing. Adam Schiff seemed to acknowledge that people were lying about it but that it didn’t diminish Donald Trump’s culpability in something that was a lie? I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it,” Fox News host John Roberts said.
“There were a lot of issues being conflated by the congressman there, I think the big problem is that we always knew that this dossier, the media always knew, that it was unverified. Members of Congress knew this,” she responded.
“Adam Schiff, either being the ranking minority leader on the Intel Committee, now the Democrats are in charge he’s the chair of that committee, given his prestigious position in the Intelligence Committee, he is given extra special briefings, so to speak, that are different even than what other member of Congress get,” she said. “So he understands intelligence. He understands how all of this works.”
And she said the media believed Schiff because of his role on the Intelligence Committee.
“They thought, ‘Oh he’s got to have some sort of special access and information we don’t know about that proves that the dossier is true,” she said. “Well, now what have we learned … people are being indicted who were involved in this dossier. They’re being indicted for lying and it’s quite possible that this is just a Russian disinformation project, so it’s just sort of mind blowing.”