Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, spent the better part of the last two years promoting the Trump-Russia "collusion" narrative, including various unverified claims in the infamous Democrat-funded dossier compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. But in an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Schiff appeared strangely reluctant to back an investigation into the document that got the whole collusion narrative rolling — particularly in light of the theory that it was actually part of a "Russian disinformation" campaign against Trump.
While the debate continues to rage over the question of obstruction of justice as it is presented in the final report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel's findings on collusion are clear: "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." The report also addresses the question of the veracity of the salacious Steele dossier, and, as The New York Times noted Friday, the investigation revealed that the dossier was chock full of of "rumor," "hearsay," "false" claims, and what may have been deliberate "Russian disinformation."
"How the dossier ended up loaded with dubious or exaggerated details remains uncertain, but the document may be the result of a high-stakes game of telephone, in which rumors and hearsay were passed from source to source," the Times reports, adding later: "Another possibility — one that Mr. Steele has not ruled out — could be Russian disinformation. That would mean that in addition to carrying out an effective attack on the Clinton campaign, Russian spymasters hedged their bets and placed a few land mines under Mr. Trump’s presidency as well."
In a moment reported by The Daily Caller's Chuck Ross, Fox News' Chris Wallace asked Schiff on Sunday about the theory and if he supported an investigation into the origins of the dossier. Schiff — who Ross notes cited the Steele dossier six times in his opening remarks in a March 2017 Intelligence Committee hearing — attempted to sidestep the question.
"Don’t you think the question of exactly how this investigation began, was it a Russian disinformation campaign to try to get — since they were trying to set Americans against each other, not only to tarnish Hillary Clinton, but also to tarnish Donald Trump — isn’t that a legitimate source of an investigation?" Wallace asked the committee chairman.
"Chris, you know, the reality is that the Republicans on our committee spent two years investigating exactly that because, frankly, they weren’t that interested in what Russia had done, the systemic attack on our democracy," said Schiff. "They spent the focus of their two years investigating the investigators and investigating exactly that question."
Wallace underscored the point that the special counsel report provides "new information" related to the dossier and the origins of the investigation into the Trump campaign, asking, "Shouldn’t you be looking at that just to find the truth?"
Schiff wouldn't give a straight answer, instead, saying they are going to be looking into "the counterintelligence findings that were the genesis of this investigation." He then made sure to defend the Trump probe, citing the evidence presented by Mueller of the Russians' attempts to "help" the Trump campaign as rationale for conducting the two-year investigation into American citizens.
That the Russians were meddling was known before the investigation was launched. The driving question of the special counsel's probe was if the Trump campaign colluded, and the findings were conclusive: it "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." If the dossier itself was part of a Russian disinformation campaign, the theory that the Russians were simply trying to "help" Trump is further complicated.
WATCH (video via TheDC):