A day after President Donald Trump released the transcript of a phone call with the president of the Ukraine at the center of Washington's latest impeachment drama, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) decided to offer his own version of events.
As part of his opening statement at a House Intelligence Committee hearing regarding the whistleblower's complaint behind the phone call controversy and featuring testimony from Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, Schiff offered a fictional version of a conversation of the July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Schiff said that the transcript of the July phone conversation between the two world leaders "reads of like an organized crime shakedown." He then attempted to offer a summary of the conversation that was "Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words":
We've been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what, I don't see much reciprocity here. 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.
I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it. On this and on that. I'm going to put you in touch with people, and not just any people: I'm going to put you in touch with Attorney General of the United States, my attorney general, Bill Barr. He's got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him and I'm going to put you in touch with Rudy [Giuliani]; you're going to love him, trust me.
You know what I'm asking, so I'm only going to say this a few more times in a few more ways. And by the way, don't call me again; I'll call you when you've done what I've asked.
Schiff went on to call his characterization "in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate."
Here's video of the statement:
The transcript of the phone call between Trump and Zelensky was released Wednesday amid a flurry of calls for impeachment from Democrats. The document outlined a conversation in which the two world leaders discussed a variety of issues but did not show Trump making any quid pro quo offer or demand on investigating matters related to former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter Biden.
The current controversy centers on President Trump's request that Zelensky look into an investigation of a Ukrainian natural gas company that employed Hunter Biden as a board member.
Here's the transcript section where Trump discusses the Bidens:
Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what's happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great … The other thing, There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.
Later in the hearing, Schiff's opening statement was criticized by Republican committee member Mike Turner (Ohio), who said that, while the transcript of the Ukrainian phone call was "not OK," it was also "not the conversation that was in the chairman's opening statement."
Schiff responded to Turner's criticism that his "summary of the president's call was meant to be, at least part, in parody" and added "the fact that that's not clear is a separate problem in and of itself."
An official Trump 2020 campaign Twitter account responded to Schiff's "parody" claim saying that "Democrats KNOW President Trump didn't do anything wrong, so they're resorting to making things up to trick you!"