Adam Schiff painstakingly outlines Trump-Russia ties in Senate hearing opening remarks
Congressman Adam Schiff, the Democratic ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, has been especially outspoken about Donald Trump’s alleged conspiring with Russia to hack the 2016 presidential election. It’s as if he had been waiting for this moment his whole life. Monday morning, Schiff and Committee Chair/Republican Congressman Devin Nunes were set to lead questioning of FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Michael S. Rogers in the first official hearing concerning heavy speculation about coordinated Russian interference that may have led directly to Trump defeating Hillary Clinton. That, in addition to conclusive comment regarding Trump’s accusations that he was illegally surveilled at the behest of former President Obama throughout that same period.
Unwilling to allow for a repeat of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing — during which, as Schiff observed, Sessions was able to plausibly deny any contact with Russian officials in the run-up to November 8 — Schiff requested 15 minutes for his opening salvo. And he proceeded to forensically detail the intertwining circumstances that have swirled around Trump, his cabinet and advisers, and Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials dating back to last July.
From Russia allegedly ensuring hacked Democratic National Committee docs damaging to Clinton would be made public through Wikileaks if Trump remains critical of NATO allies, up through confirmation that Russian intelligence was behind the info-dump, Schiff left no stone — Roger or otherwise — unturned before sharing the floor with Comey and Rogers.
Nunes, meanwhile, must have felt akin to a best man whose wedding speech just got one-upped. Addressing those present at the hearing’s outset, the congressman spoke briefly, condemning Russia’s “long history of meddling” in our and other elections. Though by way of insight, he mostly patted himself on the back for warning his colleagues all along about a laissez-faire attitude toward Russian aggression, and proceeded to pin blame on Obama and his administration, whom he argued “committed to the notion, against all evidence, that we could reset relations with Putin and routinely ignore our warnings.”
Although he conveniently glossed over the part about Obama reversing course in his second term once Russia made it clear that they were intent on ignoring literal and figurative geopolitical boundaries. But as a former dairy farmer, we can only assume Nunes is an expert at milking what’s available to him.
[screen shot: CNN]