Trump claims House intelligence chairman faked a transcript that Trump himself released
In the span of an hour on Friday morning, Donald Trump demanded not once, but twice, that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, resign from Congress.
At 8:30 a.m., Trump attacked Schiff while lying about a Wednesday memo released by the White House.
"Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn't exist," Trump wrote on Twitter. "He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty. HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!"
One hour and four tweets later, Trump once again demanded Schiff resign and added that Schiff should be investigated, writing, "Rep. Adam Schiff totally made up my conversation with Ukraine President and read it to Congress and Millions. He must resign and be investigated. He has been doing this for two years. He is a sick man!"
Trump was referring to Schiff's opening statement during a Thursday congressional hearing related to a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
First, the facts. The White House did not release an "exact transcribed version" of the call. The memo released by the White House was a summary of the call, with the document even noting in a footnote that it is "not a verbatim transcript of a discussion."
Further, Schiff prefaced his summary of the summary of the call by stating that he was not reading a word-for-word transcript. "It reads like a classic organized crime shakedown," Schiff said. "Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates."
Schiff then goes on to lay out what the White House summary of the call shows: that Trump requested the leader of a foreign country investigate his own key political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in order to influence the 2020 election. In addition to being a blatant abuse of power, soliciting or accepting election assistance from a foreign national is against the law.
At the end of Schiff's summary, he once again makes clear that he was not reading a transcript.
"This is, in sum and character, what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine," Schiff said. "It would be funny if it was not such a graphic betrayal of the president's oath of office."
Schiff addressed Trump's first resignation request on Twitter, writing, "You engaged in a shakedown to get election dirt from a foreign country. And then you tried to cover it up."
Trump's demand that Schiff resign came just three days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry into Trump's wrongdoing.
Since that time, Trump already "declared" that Pelosi is no longer speaker of the House (she still is), called for the death of the whistleblower at the heart of exposing Trump's misdeeds, and now demands one of the chief members of Congress investigating his alleged criminal activities step down and be investigated.
Trump is handling the situation with as much grace and poise as many have come to expect.
Published with permission of The American Independent. Attribution: Dan Desai Martin.