Once again, the rhetoric from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., has been discredited by facts. With the release of the rough transcript of the July 25 call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Trump, Schiff's prediction that it would show Trump had "crossed the Rubicon" has failed to materialize.
There was no quid pro quo – no "browbeating" of a foreign leader. Just two heads of state talking about Ukraine's role in 2016 U.S. election interference and discussing getting to the bottom of the corruption that has spilled over between the two countries.
With his history of deliberately distorting the truth, secretly disclosing classified information, and openly converting the House Intelligence Committee into a partisan opposition research operation, Schiff has repeatedly proven he cannot be trusted.
It's no surprise that the Trump administration initially balked at turning over sensitive information to a congressional committee led by Schiff, as it did last week. Schiff has shown himself to be a fierce partisan with little commitment to truth or discretion.
If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants to restore trust in the important Intelligence Committee, she should replace Schiff with a more trustworthy, less partisan chairman. No one who is aware of Schiff's history would want to entrust him with sensitive information.
At this point, I'm not sure Schiff could even pass the background check to receive a security clearance if he didn't already have one.
Some disqualifying factors for a person seeking a security clearance include behaviors that Schiff has routinely engaged in. His pattern of dishonesty, a history of noncompliance with security issues, and deliberate unauthorized disclosures are easily proven.
The Clinton-era Executive Order 12968, “Access to Classified Information ,” dictates that security clearances shall be granted only to individuals “whose personal and professional history affirmatively indicates loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and sound judgment, as well as freedom from conflicting allegiances and potential for coercion.”
In March, committee Republicans called for Schiff to resign the Intelligence Committee chairmanship, writing in a joint letter: “The findings of the special counsel conclusively refute your past and present assertions and have exposed you as having abused your position to knowingly promote false information, having damaged the integrity of this Committee, and undermined faith in U.S. government institutions."
Former Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., was more succinct. "Adam Schiff leaks like a sieve," Gowdy told Fox News last week.
Schiff openly admitted leaking after information from closed Intelligence Committee testimony by Donald Trump Jr. surfaced in 2017. Many pointed to him as the likely source of the leak.
Although Schiff initially denied leaking the testimony of the president’s son, he later defended the leak on CNN. “That’s not a leak,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It is exposure of his noncooperation and his stonewalling of our committee.”
Whatever Schiff wants to call it, the practice did lasting damage to his and his committee’s credibility. His subsequent promises of nonexistent smoking guns in the Russia collusion narrative have made even the fiercest partisan Democrats distrust him.
As new allegations emerge about the dealings of a president and a former vice president in Ukraine, why would anyone put their faith in a man known to get so many things wrong?
Schiff has tarnished the stellar reputation of the House Intelligence Committee through his unprofessional, unethical, and quite unprecedented leaks. Removal of his security clearance would force Pelosi to replace him. But it shouldn't take that long. She should act now to restore the integrity of this important committee.