The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” column hit House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) with four Pinocchios Friday for falsely claiming that his panel had “not spoken directly” with the partisan CIA officer behind a so-called “whistleblower” complaint about President Donald Trump.
According to the New York Times, the officer, who is reportedly a registered Democrat, initially directed a colleague to discuss his claims with the CIA’s top lawyer. Shortly after, the Deep Stater contacted a House Intelligence Committee aide to discuss the Trump-Zelensky call in which the world leaders discussed U.S. military aid and the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and 2020 White House candidate Joe Biden. The panel staffer shared several of the officer’s claims, which are based on secondhand information, with Schiff, but did not reveal his identity.
However, appearing September 17th on MSNBC, Schiff told contributor Sam Stein, “we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”
“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to,” Schiff told Stein when asked if he was in touch with the officer. “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.”
Contrary to Schiff’s claims, the Post’s Glenn Kessler branded the California Democrat’s answer as “flat-out false.”
“He now says he’s was answering the wrong question, but if that was the case, he should have quickly corrected the record. He compounded his falsehood by telling reporters a few days later that if not for the [intelligence community inspector general’s] office, the committee would not have known about the complaint. That again suggested there had been no prior communication,” wrote Kessler.
“The explanation that Schiff was not sure it was the same whistleblower especially strains credulity,” the fact-checker went on. “Schiff earns Four Pinocchios.”
In a statement earlier this week, a spokesperson for the House Intelligence panel conceded the lawmaker “should have been more carefully phrased” in his response to the MSNBC contributor.
“Regarding Chairman Schiff’s comments on ‘Morning Joe,’ in the context, he intended to answer the question of whether the Committee had heard testimony from the whistleblower, which they had not,” said the press representative. “As he said in his answer, the whistleblower was then awaiting instructions from the acting [director of national intelligence] as to how the whistleblower could contact the Committee. Nonetheless he acknowledges that his statement should have been more carefully phrased to make that distinction clear.”
Kessler regularly grades statements by lawmakers, which in his column, range from one to four Pinocchios—with one Pinocchio counting as a minor offense to four being a certifiable falsehood.