Correcting the Facts on Congressman Adam Schiff

An Opinion by Jon Coupal titled “Adam Schiff should not be California AG”, was published in MediaNews Group’s papers on February 7, 2021.

Members of Canada Crescenta Democratic Club have submitted Letters to the Editor challenging the assumptions and conclusions of the Opinion.

 MediaNews Group owns ~32 brands in California, including Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, & Torrance Daily Breeze.

Jon Coupal is the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, “dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights, including the right to limited taxation, the right to vote on tax increases and the right of economical, equitable and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

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Original Article

Long Beach Press Telegram, Pasadena Star News, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

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OPINION
Adam Schiff should not be California AG

In this March 3, 2020 file photo House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Schiff is a possible candidate to be named California’s next Attorney General after Xavier Becerra, was nominated to join the Biden Administration as Secretary of Health and Human Services. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)


By JON COUPAL | |
PUBLISHED: February 7, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. | UPDATED: February 7, 2021 at 9:14 a.m.


The office of the attorney general of California is unlike any other elected position.

That person serves as California’s top law enforcement official.

In addition to the same oath of office that most public officials take to uphold the constitutions of both the United States and California, an attorney general also has fiduciary obligations to apply the law equally and fairly. It is an office that requires both integrity and honesty.

While it is hoped that the attorney general would approach their duties in a non-partisan manner, the attorney general post is nonetheless a partisan office.

This has been troubling in recent years as the holders of that office have wrongfully politicized the process of writing the official descriptions of measures that appear on the ballot.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra was roundly criticized by both progressive and conservative media for preparing deceptive ballot titles and summaries in order to placate his political allies and punish his political adversaries.

But no amount of past abuses in the office of attorney general would likely exceed that which would occur should current Congressman Adam Schiff be selected by Gov. Gavin Newsom to replace Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Becerra.

There is no debate that Schiff, a House manager of the first failed impeachment effort, is a hyper-partisan politician who craves both the limelight and more power. Nor is there doubt he has his eyes on even higher office.

Schiff’s biggest liability, however, is his abject lack of integrity. To put it succinctly, his history of habitual lying makes him unfit to be California’s top cop. During the entire impeachment fiasco, Schiff was pushing a narrative that he knew had no factual basis.

A May 12, 2020 editorial in the Wall Street Journal summarized: “Americans expect that politicians will lie, but sometimes the examples are so brazen that they deserve special notice. Newly released Congressional testimony shows that Adam Schiff spread falsehoods shamelessly about Russia and Donald Trump for three years even as his own committee gathered contrary evidence.”

The Boston Herald was equally stunned: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has been feeding the American people misinformation for years. He used his position — replete with access to information and people in the know — to distribute wild accounts of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.”

Several mainstream media outlets have rendered a similar judgment.

For example, there was this analysis by PolitiFact: “Schiff said, ‘We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.’ We rate this statement False.”

  • In the Washington Post: “Schiff earns Four Pinocchios.”
  • From Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass: “Schiff is a dissembler, a prevaricator, a distortionist, a spreader of falsehoods. In Chicago we use the short word: liar.”

Schiff’s history of lying goes back decades. Former congressman John Campbell of Orange County was a regular guest on the NPR affiliate in Pasadena, KPCC, where he would debate Adam Schiff on the issues of the day. According to Campbell, Schiff would lie with an ease that is breathtaking: “He would just make stuff up to prove his point knowing that what was coming out of his mouth wasn’t true. And he would do it so convincingly you’d almost believe him even when you knew he was lying.”

California does not need someone as attorney general who has more Pinocchios than the souvenir shop in Disneyland.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Referenced "Fact Checker" from Washington Post

Fact Checker
Analysis
Schiff’s false claim his committee had not spoken to the whistleblower

By
Glenn Kessler
Oct. 4, 2019 at 12:00 a.m. PDT

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”

— Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sept. 17

We recently took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to task for misleading reporters about the fact that he was a participant in the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was the subject of a whistleblower complaint and now an impeachment inquiry in Congress. He earned Four Pinocchios for being disingenuous in his remarks to reporters to obscure his firsthand knowledge of what took place.

But politicians spin all across Washington, often to deflect uncomfortable facts. Now let’s look at comments by Schiff, who is heading the impeachment inquiry, as reporters probed about the whistleblower before the details of the allegation were revealed.

Schiff’s answers are especially interesting in the wake of reports in the New York Times and The Washington Post that the whistleblower approached a House Intelligence Committee staff member for guidance before filing a complaint with the Intelligence Community inspector general. The staff member learned the “very bare contours” of the allegation that Trump has abused the powers of his office, The Post said.

When the Fact Checker asked what “bare contours” meant, a committee spokesman pointed to an exchange of letters. In a Sept. 13 letter to the committee, the general counsel of the director of national intelligence said that “complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.” In his own letter that day, Schiff wrote that because of that language, and because the DNI refused to affirm or deny that White House officials were involved in the decision not to forward the complaint, the committee can conclude only that “the serious misconduct involves the president of the United States and/or other senior White House or administration officials.”

Our suspicion is that the unidentified staff member learned the potential complaint involved “privileged” communication, which is code for something having to do with the president.

So, with this new information, let’s look back at how Schiff handled questions about his knowledge of the whistleblower complaint.

The Facts

Sept. 16, interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN

Cooper: “Just to be clear, you don’t know who this alleged whistleblower is or what they are alleging?”
Schiff: “I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower.”
Cooper: “And they haven’t contacted you or their legal representation hasn’t contacted you?”
Schiff: “I don’t want to get into any particulars. I want to make sure that there’s nothing that I do that jeopardizes the whistleblower in any way.”
This is a classic dodge — “don’t want to get into any particulars” — and Cooper failed to follow up. Notice how Schiff quickly answered whether he knew the identity of the whistleblower — “I don’t know” — but then sidestepped the questions about whether the committee had been contacted. But in doing so, he managed not to mislead; he just simply did not answer the question.


Sept. 17, interview on “Morning Joe”

Sam Stein: “Have you heard from the whistleblower? Do you want to hear from the whistleblower? What protections could you provide to the whistleblower?” …
Schiff: “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to. But I am sure the whistleblower has concerns that he has not been advised, as the law requires, by the inspector general or the director of national Intelligence just how he is supposed to communicate with Congress, and so the risk to the whistleblower is retaliation.”
This is flat-out false. Unlike the quick two-step dance he performed with Anderson Cooper, Schiff simply says the committee had not spoken to the whistleblower. Now we know that’s not true.

“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” a committee spokesman told The Fact Checker. “As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the Acting DNI as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”

The spokesman pointed to an interview with Schiff by the Daily Beast, in which he said that he “did not know definitively at the time if the complaint had been authored by the same whistleblower who had approached his staff.” But he added that he “should have been much more clear.”


Sept. 19, meeting with reporters at the Capitol

Schiff: “In the absence of the actions, and I want to thank the inspector general, in the absence of his actions in coming to our committee, we might not have even known there was a whistleblower complaint alleging an urgent concern.”
Here’s some more dissembling. Schiff says that if not for the IG, the committee might never have known about the complaint. But his committee knew that something explosive was going to be filed with the IG. As the New York Times put it, the initial inquiry received by the committee “also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”

Schiff, however, does qualify that this was a complaint alleging “an urgent concern,” and it’s not clear whether the initial inquiry had tipped off the committee staff that it would rise to that level. Still, Schiff’s phrasing was misleading because he gives no hint that the committee was aware a potentially significant (“privileged”) complaint might have been filed.

“As Chairman Schiff has made clear, he does not know the identity of the whistleblower, has had no communication with them or their attorney, and did not view the whistleblower’s complaint until the day prior to the hearing with the DNI when the ODNI finally provided it to the Committee,” the spokesman said. “Whistleblowers frequently come to the committee. Some whistleblowers approach the IG without notice to the Committee, and some who do go to the IG do not necessarily file a complaint. However, this was the first whistleblower complaint provided to the Committee this year that the IC IG determined to be of ‘urgent concern’ and ‘credible,’ and Chairman Schiff would have raised the alarm regardless when it was illegally withheld.”

The spokesman added: “The focus should not be on the whistleblower, but rather the complaint which the IC IG determined was credible and urgent and which has been thus far confirmed by the call record released by the White House and statements by the President and his personal attorney.”

The Pinocchio Test
There are right ways and wrong ways to answer reporters’ questions if a politician wants to maintain his or her credibility. There’s nothing wrong with dodging a question, as long as you don’t try to mislead (as Pompeo did).


But Schiff on “Morning Joe” clearly made a statement that was false. He now says he was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record. He compounded his falsehood by telling reporters a few days later that if not for the IG’s office, the committee would not have known about the complaint. That again suggested there had been no prior communication.

The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity.

Schiff earns Four Pinocchios.

 

The Fact Checker is a verified signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network code of principles

Letter 1

The Adam Schiff depicted by Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association President, Jon Coupal, bears little resemblance to the man who represents me in California’s 28th Congressional District. Coupal’s scurrilous editorial attack invokes right wing newspaper editorials and politicians to unfairly paint a picture of Schiff that lacks merit.

The Adam Schiff I know works tirelessly to foster the interests and needs of his diverse constituency. His grasp of issues and linguistic eloquence make him an excellent spokesperson. It is no surprise that he was chosen to lead the Democrat team in the first impeachment trial of the hapless Donald Trump.

Do not be taken in by Coupal’s hit piece. Adam Schiff is an individual of high integrity, intelligence and compassion. He would be a worthy occupant of any position to which he aspires. I urge you to disregard Coupal’s partisan drivel.

Letter 2

Dear Editor, 

Jon Coupal’s opinion piece on Representative Adam Schiff (2/7/2021) is factually incorrect and offensive. 

Coupal quotes opinion pieces from various papers, which have been discredited by national investigations and news reporting. 

Representative Adam Schiff is an honorable person, meticulous in speech, and dedicated to the public good.

 

Coupal chases a red herring,  the whistleblower for Donald Trump’s first Impeachment trial.  Coupal’s bluster and outrage focuses on a statement by Representative Schiff on Sept 17 on Morning Joe: “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”  

 Schiff’s remark was factually correct. The whistleblower did not speak to the committee. He/she spoke with a staff member, and the staff member told Schiff about  the contact, as is appropriate. 

Jon Coupal propagates anti-government, anti-regulatory, and anti-tax rhetoric. He does not argue from a position supported by the facts, but resting on farfetched extremist opinion.