Trump declares war on Schiff – POLITICO

At Thursday’s Intelligence panel hearing, featuring testimony by Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, Schiff offered an exaggerated version of the transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

That conversation, during which Trump urged Zelensky to work with Attorney General William Barr to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, is the main focus of the impeachment probe into the president’s conduct.

“Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates,” Schiff said, before launching into his dramatic rendition of the call’s subtext.

“I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though, and I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good,” Schiff, channeling Trump, told the committee. “I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it.”

The chairman’s monologue drew quick scorn from conservative commentators, as well as Trump’s campaign staff and Capitol Hill allies, and Schiff sought to clarify his remarks later in the hearing.

“My summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least part in parody. The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself,” he said, adding: “My point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving, in not so many words.”

But Trump refused to accept that explanation Friday, twice calling for Schiff’s resignation and claiming that he “lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public.”

The attacks came after Trump, tweeting just after 7 a.m., accused CNN of purposefully misreporting his derisive — and curiously phrased — nickname for his Democratic foil.

“To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!” Trump wrote in his message, which incorrectly spelled the word “describing” and confused two punctuation marks.

The hosts of Trump’s favorite morning show, “Fox & Friends,” were also irritated by Schiff’s statement Thursday, devoting a brief segment to knocking him in the opening minutes of their broadcast.

“If you are the chairman of a committee, and you’re trying to get credibility for your latest impeachment push, why would you start in the fiction section of the library?” asked co-host Brian Kilmeade.

Later in the program, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow likened the performance to a “‘Saturday Night Live’ routine,” while White House spokesman Hogan Gidley mocked it as “some type of crazy cosplay convention” where Schiff was “dressing up like a congressman reading fantasy.”

Schiff in recent days had been at the center of a protracted struggle between the legislative and executive branches, as lawmakers sought access to an explosive whistleblower complaint that detailed Trump’s call with Zelensky and alleged efforts by White House officials to “lock down” records of the conversation.

Maguire eventually provided the complaint after initially refusing to turn it over to Congress, and acknowledged during his testimony Thursday that he first consulted with the White House counsel’s office and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel about the document.

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