“The Russians are very big fans of our Second Amendment,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Friday, during a discussion with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell as an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington, DC.
Russians enjoy seeing Americans being murdered, said Schiff, speaking within the context of Wednesday’s mass murder at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
“They don’t particularly want [a Second Amendment] of their own,” said Schiff. “They don’t necessarily want lots of Russians running around with lots of guns, but they’re really happy we do. They would like nothing better than if we were shooting each other every day, which sadly, we are.”
Both Mitchell and Schiff linked unspecified “Russian interference” in American politics with allegations of “Russian bots” pushing political agitation online with respect to Wednesday’s mass shooting.
Russians actively seek to undermine “gun safety legislation,” alleged Schiff, saying, “Looking at the Russian use of this horrible shooting in Florida, they would often combine pro-gun-control hashtags with anti-gun-control stories that were really designed to ridicule the movement in favor of gun safety legislation.”
Mitchell claimed, without evidence, that “Russian intermediaries” were both involved with and supporting the NRA across the 2016 presidential election cycles. She cited reporting from McClatchy based on anonymous sources alleging the existence of an FBI investigation into the matter. The claim was repeated by news media outlets such as CNN, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times.
Blame for the Wednesday’s mass murder at a Florida high school lies with the NRA, according to Schiff. He framed Congress as somehow beholden to the NRA:
Wherever you see a really wide gulf between what the public wants and what the public gets, there’s usually a powerful special interest in the way. Even the vast majority of NRA members support meaningful background checks and restrictions, but the leadership doesn’t, and the leadership has put enough fear into the majority of the House and Senate that we can’t seem to make any progress. Or if we are making progress, it’s only incrementally in changing attitudes and we still haven’t seen it reflected in the Congress.
Hours after Wednesday’s mass murder in Florida, Schiff took to Twitter to call on Congress “to act,” without offering specifics:
My heart is broken again — this time for the victims of the Parkland school shooting, and the families whose children will not come home today. It is within the power of Congress to save lives, if we find the courage to act.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 14, 2018
Mitchell presents herself as a politically objective and non-partisan news media figure. She described the CFR as “completely non-partisan.”