Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, conceded Sunday that he should have been "more clear" about his committee's contact with the whistleblower who raised concerns about President Donald Trump's July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.
Last month, Schiff said neither he nor his committee had contact with the whistleblower. He also said that he might never have found out about the whistleblower complaint if the Intelligence Committee inspector general had not brought it to the committee's attention.
These two statements, were, of course, not true at all.
In reality, the whistleblower spoke with Intelligence Committee staff before filing the complaint, seeking advice on how to proceed, and Schiff was made aware of the nature of the complaint before it was filed.
Schiff's defense for the falsehoods is essentially that everyone else simply misunderstood his answer.
"Do you regret saying that we—the committee—weren't in touch with the whistleblower?" asked "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan.
"I should have been much more clear," Schiff replied. "I said so the minute it was brought to my attention that I was referring to the fact that, when the whistleblower filed the complaint, we had not heard from the whistleblower. We wanted to bring the whistleblower in at that time, but I should have been much more clear."
Rep. Adam Schiff says he "should have been more clear" about staffer's contact with whistleblower youtu.be
It wasn't that we hadn't heard from the whistleblower at all, Schiff is saying, it's just that we hadn't literally brought the whistleblower in for a face-to-face.
The revelation that the House Intelligence Committee knew about the complaint before it was filed has led to accusations from President Donald Trump and his allies that Schiff influenced, or even helped write, the complaint upon which the Democrats' are basing their impeachment inquiry.
"It shows that Schiff is a fraud. ... I think it's a scandal that he knew before," Trump said, according to Fox News. "I'd go a step further. I'd say he probably helped write it. ... That's a big story. He knew long before, and he helped write it, too. It's a scam."