House Democratic impeachment manager, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, during a break in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Last week, a new “bombshell” dropped in the form of leaks to The New York Times claiming that Putin was explicitly helping to re-elect Trump. This was played off the same election interference narrative we’ve seen since 2016.
Then things started to fall apart. New reports from CNN and others said that the intelligence has been overstated. When pressed for evidence, Shelby Pierson (who was giving the briefing) couldn’t provide any and it quickly became clear that no actual signal intelligence existed to substantiate any claims of Trump being directly aided. Shortly after, a new report came out stating that Bernie Sanders was also being helped by Russia, further complicating the picture.
It’s clear that the Times’ original story was highly overstated and planted to send a certain message to the public, namely to prop up the mostly dead Trump-Russia narrative. The question was who did it?
We may have an answer and it’s a testament to always looking in the most obvious places.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) February 26, 2020
While I’m still skeptical that Pierson didn’t overstate matters in the briefing, the idea that Democratic lawmakers simply lied about what they were told seems at least as plausible. We know the leak had to have come from somewhere and given the timing, it was almost certainly Adam Schiff or a staffer who did the leaking.
History says that Schiff is in no way above simply stating untruths about the Trump-Russia situation. He spent much of the last three years appearing on the Sunday shows making proclamations of evidence that didn’t actually exist. Would anyone really put it past him to leak this briefing and misconstrue what was said? I’d say it’s the most probable explanation, especially given the Times was the recipient of this information.
These kinds of games are exactly why the White House should just stop briefing these people. They aren’t looking to use the information to actually do their jobs. Instead, it’s just political fodder and is being used as such. At some point, enough has to be enough.