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'This is flat-out false'
The Washington Post gave Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) a four-Pinocchio rating for his blatant falsehood about whether or not his committee had knowledge of the whistleblower's complaint about a phone call between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine.
What was the lie?
During a Sept. 17 interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Daily Beast politics editor Sam Stein asked Schiff if he had heard or wanted to hear from the whistleblower.
Schiff insisted: "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."
In addition, on Sept. 19 Schiff told reporters that if the inspector general had not contacted the House Intelligence Committee, which he chairs, "we might not have even known there was a whistleblower complaint alleging an urgent concern."
However, it soon became apparent that the whistleblower had discussed the matter with a staff member with the House Intelligence Committee before he filed his complaint. According to a report from the New York Times, the whistleblower had sought advice on how to proceed.
What did the Washington Post say?
Before getting into what Schiff said, the Post pointed out that it "recently took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to task" who had himself earned "four Pinocchios for being disingenuous in his remarks to report to obscure his firsthand knowledge of what took place."
"But politicians spin all across Washington, often to deflect uncomfortable facts," the Post wrote, as it segued into talking about Schiff.
But once they had moved to Schiff's quote, the Post took a firm stance, saying: "This is flat-out false."
The paper added that "there's nothing wrong with dodging a question, as long as you don't try to mislead," however, it continued, "Schiff on 'Morning Joe' clearly made a statement that was false."
Schiff's office tried to deflect, telling the Washington Post that he had been trying to answer another question, and "that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear." The spokesman also suggested that Schiff wasn't sure if the whistleblower who approached the committee was the same one who had filed the report.
But the Post rejected that excuse, saying, "The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity."
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