Representative Adam Schiff has received much criticism because of his claims there was evidence of collusion. Trump has condemned him for leading the “Russia hoax.” All of the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee he chairs called upon him to resign his chair. Schiff responded strongly, here is some of what he had to say.
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. 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.
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 son-in-law attempted to establish a secret backchannel of communication with the Russians through a Russia 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. 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.
You might say that’s all OK, that’s what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK.
I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic. And yes, I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion.
Now I have always said that whether this amounts to proof of conspiracy was another matter. Whether the Special Counsel could prove beyond reasonable doubt proof of that crime would be up to the Special Counsel and I would accept his decision. And I do. He is a good and honorable man and he is a good prosecutor.
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 will look back and say America lost its way.
You can hear Schiff’s presentation for yourself.
I don’t think any of the facts in Schiff’s speech are really disputed. No matter how many times Trump, and his supporters, call this investigation a hoax it was not a hoax. Real, and legitimate, questions were raised by the President’s own conduct and that of his people. A hoax involves deception, and the many lies by Trump and his people regarding the campaign’s connections to Russia, made this investigation necessary.
That the conduct was finally determined to not meet the technical, legal standard required for a criminal “conspiracy” does not address the bigger point Schiff is rightfully raising. While not technically criminal, it can still be corrupt, it can still be immoral, unethical and unpatriotic. It can still be not “OK.”
They can still be the kind of things, many things, that we should not tolerate in a man entrusted to the highest position of trust in the nation.