Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) continued his attacks on John Durham after the special counsel’s report further undermined the Democrat’s collusion claims, with the GOP calling for the California Senate hopeful to be tossed out of the House.
Schiff, who previously led the House Intelligence Committee, pushed unproven allegations of Trump-Russia collusion for years and touted British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s discredited dossier, even reading multiple unverified claims from it into the congressional record in March 2017.
Durham’s Monday report concluded the FBI had no proper basis for launching the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump and Russia in 2016, trashed the FBI for deploying the dossier, and pointed to the involvement of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in generating baseless collusion claims.
Schiff claimed on Twitter on Tuesday that “the Durham investigation was flawed from the start” and that “it resulted in two spectacular failures at trial.” He contended that the “FBI had a good reason to investigate — Durham didn’t.”
Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation “did not establish” any criminal collusion, but Schiff said Tuesday on MSNBC that “there were real things to investigate there, and the Mueller team did and we did in Congress” but that “the investigation of the investigators by Durham revealed little to nothing.”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Tuesday that the Durham report “really raises questions about” Schiff.
“Remember when he told the American people he had proof? … And what he put America through and openly lied to us and now it is proven to us in this as well?” McCarthy said. “It raises a lot of questions about his character, his standing inside of Congress, and whether he should even be in Congress.” The speaker also wondered if Schiff should be “expelled” from Congress.
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) announced Wednesday she had filed a motion to have Schiff expelled from the House. She accused him of “knowingly using your position on House Intel to push a lie … and then proceeding to double down on the lie within days of the Durham report coming out makes you unfit for office.”
Schiff, who is running for the Democratic nomination to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), used Luna’s move as a fundraising opportunity.
“I stood up to Donald Trump and held extreme MAGA forces accountable. Now they want payback,” Schiff tweeted.
Andrew McCarthy, a contributing editor at National Review and a former federal prosecutor, told the Washington Examiner that Schiff had used his “privilege” as House Intelligence leader “to perpetuate a partisan smear, knowing his [GOP] opposition could not correct him for fear of being accused of exposing classified information.
“He’d known all the while there was no Trump-Russia conspiracy,” McCarthy said.
Schiff is mentioned by name three times in the Durham report, including that a university researcher who refused to investigate Trump-Russia allegations felt threatened by a Schiff staffer.
Durham’s report said two researchers, likely from Georgia Tech, were on Capitol Hill in a November 2018 meeting with staff with the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding a pending cyber security federal research contract.
During the meeting, committee staffers cut off the presentation to show researchers a news article about “Trump, Russia, and Alfa Bank.” Schiff’s staff told the researcher they needed the university’s “help with the matter,” according to the Durham report.
The researcher “responded by saying that it would be inappropriate for a public university to do that.” A staffer from Sen. Jack Reed’s (D-RI) office said that “we are now in charge” and a House Intelligence staffer “said that their boss (Congressman Adam Schiff) would soon take over leadership of HPSCI.” The researcher “took the comment as a mild threat.”
After promoting the Steele dossier in 2017, Schiff engaged in a battle with then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) in 2018 about the use of the dossier.
The Republicans released their memo in early February 2018, finding that Steele’s anti-Trump dossier formed an essential part of the FISA applications against Carter Page, that the political origins of the Steele dossier were known to senior DOJ and FBI officials but excluded from the FISA applications, and that DOJ official Bruce Ohr relayed to the DOJ information about Steele’s bias against Trump.
Schiff and the Democrats released a late February 2018 rebuttal memo contending that “FBI and DOJ officials did not ‘abuse’ the FISA process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign.”
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz soon largely vindicated Nunes and showed Schiff was wrong.
Horowitz released a report in December 2019 that concluded the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation was filled with serious missteps, including 17 “significant” errors, and concealed exculpatory information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court. Horowitz criticized the bureau’s “central and essential” reliance on the discredited dossier, and FBI interviews showed Steele’s main source undercut the credibility of the dossier.
Ex-FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith admitted to Durham in August 2020 that he falsified a document during the bureau’s efforts to renew FISA surveillance authority against Carter Page, fraudulently editing a CIA email in 2017 to state that Page was “not a source” for the agency.
Schiff quickly attacked the Durham investigation after the then-Connecticut federal prosecutor was picked by former Attorney General William Barr to investigate in 2019. He told the National Press Club that summer that Durham was part of a “desire to provide cover for the president [Trump] by investigating the investigators.”
Schiff attacked Durham’s investigation again in October 2019 following reports the inquiry had shifted into a “criminal” investigation.
“These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under AG Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge,” he said.
Schiff again criticized Durham’s inquiry in the summer of 2020 and beyond. He tweeted in September 2020 that the investigation was “political from the start” and sent Horowitz a letter requesting the watchdog open an investigation on Durham. He also criticized Barr’s elevation of Durham from federal prosecutor to special counsel, slamming it was “politically motivated.” He called upon Biden’s attorney general to shut Durham down in December 2020.
The congressman later briefly endorsed Durham’s prosecution of Russian national Igor Danchenko in late 2021.
Durham charged Danchenko, the main source for Steele’s discredited dossier, with misleading investigators about the sourcing for dossier claims, including those related to the baseless allegations of a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between then-candidate Trump and the Russians, which the special counsel said is false.
Schiff was asked during a November 2021 appearance on The View if he had any reflections on his role in promoting the dossier.
“Well, first of all, whoever lied to the FBI or lied to Christopher Steele should be prosecuted — and they are,” Schiff said, adding, “But at the beginning of the Russia investigation, I said that any allegations should be investigated. We couldn’t have known, for example, people were lying to Christopher Steele.”
Danchenko was also found not guilty last year. Durham revealed that, even after the Steele dossier fiasco, Danchenko was on the FBI’s payroll as a confidential human source from March 2017 to October 2020 before he was charged.
Source: Jerry Dunleavy, washingtonexaminer.com/news/justice/schiff-attacks-durham-report-trump-russia-collusion-claims