'Shifty Schiff'? Top House Dem Presented Doctored Text Message at January 6 Hearing

© REUTERS / Leah MillisAn explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021.
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.12.2021
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A Democratic-led House of Representatives panel is investigating the Trump administration’s possible role in instigating the violence at the Capitol during Congress’s 6 January meeting to formally certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. The former president has dismissed the probe as a partisan “witch hunt.”
The House select committee on the 6 January attack has admitted that California Democratic congressman Adam Schiff presented a doctored version of a text message from GOP congressman Jim Jordan to former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, with the altered message appearing to make the exchange more incriminating.
Schiff cited the text message, which discussed former vice president Mike Pence’s possible role in the election certification process, at a committee hearing on Monday. The version of the text presented by Schiff in his presentation read: “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.”
“You can see why this is so critical to ask Mr. Meadows about. About a lawmaker suggesting that the former vice president simply throw out votes that he unilaterally deems unconstitutional in order to overturn a presidential election and subvert the will of the American people,” Schiff said of the message.
However, the original version of the text, cited by the select committee in a statement to The Federalist newspaper Wednesday, revealed that Schiff cut the final clause of the first paragraph, deleted the final two paragraphs, and changed punctuation. The original text was reportedly forwarded by Jordan to Meadows, and written by conservative attorney Joseph Schmitz. It provided a detailed legalese explanation citing US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence as to why Pence had the constitutional right to throw out errant electoral votes. The text was accompanied by an attached four-page legal document.
“The Select Committee on Monday created and provided Representative Schiff a graphic to use during the business meeting quoting from a text message from ‘a lawmaker’ to Mr. Meadows. The graphic read, ‘On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.’ In the graphic, the period at the end of that sentence was added inadvertently. The Select Committee is responsible for and regrets the error,” a committee spokesperson told the newspaper.

‘Shifty Schiff’ Strikes Again

The incident is at least the third time the Representative Schiff, whom Donald Trump branded as ‘Shifty Schiff’ during the Russiagate investigation, has been accused of doctoring information to fit the narrative he seeks to get across. In 2019, during the first impeachment hearings against Trump, Schiff was accused of altering a transcript of the telephone conversation between the US president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to incriminate Trump. Schiff later admitted wrongdoing, but claimed that the version he cited was meant as “parody.”
Two years before that, in 2017, Schiff was accused of leaking emails to media purportedly showing communications between the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and another party about incriminating leaked WikiLeaks documents on the Democrats before their release. Schiff called the email chain “very significant” and “deeply disturbing public information about direct contacts between Russia and the very center of the Trump family, campaign and organization.”
It was later revealed that the Democratic congressman and media reporting on the emails got the dates wrong, and that Trump Jr had been sent the information after the WikiLeaks information was already made public.
Responding to the latest suspected fiddling with the source material by Schiff, Trump Jr. tweeted that he didn’t find it surprising.
House Democrats voted to hold Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress on Tuesday after the former senior Trump aide failed to fully cooperate with the 6 January committee. Republicans Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney joined with the Democrats in the contempt vote, prompting pro-Trump GOP bigwigs to pen an appeal asking the party to remove the pair from the House Republican conference.
Meadows has limited his cooperation with the 6 January committee to the provision of thousands of pieces of correspondence, but refused to testify, citing executive privilege.
Trump has dismissed the committee hearings as another element in the “witch hunt” against him, and has claimed that he did nothing wrong on 6 January.
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