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A WaPo story just out: Trump makes veiled threat toward Schiff over classified briefing on Russian 2020 election interference

President Trump on Sunday made a veiled threat toward House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, claiming without evidence that the California Democrat had leaked information from a classified briefing in which a senior U.S. intelligence official told lawmakers that Russia wants to see Trump reelected.

I wouldn’t call it “veiled,” though.

Somebody please tell incompetent (thanks for my high poll numbers) & corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff to stop leaking Classified information or, even worse, made up information, to the Fake News Media. Someday he will be caught, & that will be a very unpleasant experience!  [Trump tweet]

Of course, it was the Republicans on the intelligence committee who couldn’t wait to run to the White House to tell Trump all about the briefing — not that they were concerned about Russian interference, just upset that the Democrats had learned about it. Schiff, naturally, wasn’t having it.

Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one.

You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020.

Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it.

You’ve betrayed America. Again. [Schiff tweet]

In addition, the WaPo story reports that Chris Wallace has, again, committed journalism:

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, also sought to pin the blame on Schiff. In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Short argued that the California Democrat’s committee was “selectively leaking out information and often distorting information.”
That claim prompted a swift pushback from host Chris Wallace, who asked Short, “I don’t understand, you’re saying it’s not true and they leaked it?”
Short demurred, saying only that “that was a classified briefing that shouldn’t have been discussed.”

Battle lines have been drawn, and our troops are definitely fired up. Incidentally — or not so incidentally — I can find no reports that classified information was leaked, nor that Schiff was the source of the reports about the briefing. The New York Times article that broke  the story led off by saying it was Trump’s temper tantrum over the briefing having taken place at all (in front of Schiff, no less) that got their attention.

Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

And a general description — with no classified details — was provided by the usual staffers:

A Democratic House Intelligence Committee official called the Feb. 13 briefing an important update about “the integrity of our upcoming elections” and said that members of both parties attended, including Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee.

But of course, that’s reality, and we all know how Trump deals with reality.

  • February 23, 2020