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The New York Times has reported that Trump bête noire Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) knew about the Ukraine whistleblower’s complaint before it was filed. This revelation gives the president’s supporters more evidence that the anonymous CIA officer’s filing is a partisan effort.
Two weeks ago, Schiff claimed on MSNBC that he hadn’t spoken with the whistleblower. Well, his phrasing was a bit more lawyerly than that:
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower,” Schiff said on Sept. 17. The “we” and “directly” seem to be doing the heavy lifting here.
In Wednesday’s Times article, Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland admitted: “like other whistleblowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistleblower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community.”
And the whistleblower just happened to consult the most impeachment-happy member of Congress.
The White House was quick to react:
In a news conference in the East Room of the White House after this article was published, Mr. Trump called it a scandal that Mr. Schiff knew the outlines of the whistle-blower’s accusations before he filed his complaint.
“Big stuff. That’s a big story,” Mr. Trump said, waving a copy of the article in the air. “He knew long before and helped write it, too. It’s a scam,” the president added, accusing Mr. Schiff of helping the whistle-blower write his complaint. There is no evidence that Mr. Schiff did, and his spokesman said he saw no part of the complaint before it was filed.
The whistle-blower’s decision to offer what amounted to an early warning to the intelligence committee’s Democrats is also sure to thrust Mr. Schiff even more forcefully into the center of the controversy.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said Mr. Schiff should be forced to resign for reading a parody of the Ukraine call at a hearing, an act Mr. Trump has called treasonous and criminal.
“We don’t call him shifty Schiff for nothing,” said Mr. Trump. “He’s a shifty dishonest guy.”
Despite the blockbuster revelation, the Times piece subtly implies that Schiff and his office did nothing wrong while it casts the President in an unflattering light. This leads me to believe that the California congressman fed this news to the NYT before it was revealed by a more skeptical outlet.