Adam Schiff, Steele dossier and the death of shame in American politics

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The famous philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal once said that “the only shame is not to have it”. The problem with shame is that it assumes a feeling of guilt for one’s actions. In the age of rage, there are fewer and fewer actions that go beyond the bounds of politics.

Take Adam Schiff and the Steele file. While even the Washington Post has admitted it was wrong about the story of Russian collusion in light of Special Advocate John Durham’s findings, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D -Calif., Still insists he was absolutely right to promote the discredited Steele File.

Schiff’s interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” is perhaps the final proof of the death of shame in American politics.

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Schiff has been one of the biggest promoters of the Steele case despite having access to briefings questioning Steele and the underlying allegations. However, Schiff recently attempted to defend himself by claiming that Steele was a respected former spy and that a Russian source had lied to him.

Schiff told host Chuck Todd:

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“I don’t regret saying that we should investigate the allegations of someone who, frankly, was a highly respected British intelligence officer. And we couldn’t have known, of course, years ago that we would learn years later that someone who is a primary source lied to him. [Igor] Danchenko lied to Christopher Steele and then to the FBI. He should be continued. He is being pursued. And I’ll tell you this, if he’s convicted he shouldn’t be pardoned like Donald Trump pardoned people who lied to FBI agents like Roger Stone and Mike Flynn. There should be the same standard in terms of prosecuting liars. But I don’t think there should be forgiveness no matter which side the lies are cut from. “

Schiff’s rotation is enough to cause permanent dizziness.

Some of us have spent years being pummeled for questioning the obvious problems with the Steele dossier, including the long denied connection to the Clinton campaign. Schiff was the main voice who crushed such criticism and his endorsements were seen as a positive for MSNBC media at the Washington Post. After all, he was the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and assured the public that our criticisms were without merit and that the case was corroborated.

Schiff’s spin, however, continues to deny the obvious about the Russian collusion scandal.

First, many would scoff at the claim that Steele was and remains a “highly respected British intelligence officer”. Shortly after the case was turned over to the FBI, British intelligence reported credibility issues with Steele. The FBI cut Steele as an asset. Even his own sources told the FBI that Steele grossly exaggerates the information and distorts the information.

The Russian collusion scandal was not a harmless political ploy. Lives have been destroyed.

More recently, Steele released a laughable claim that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, was lying to protect Trump despite having spent years trying to get Trump to criminally indict.

Second, Schiff ignored repeated contradictions in Steele’s case as well as evidence that the case was funded and promoted by the Clinton campaign. In 2017, even fired FBI agent Peter Strzok admitted that “we are not aware of ANY Trump adviser engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials” and “Steele may not be able to judge the reliability of its sub-source network “.

Schiff would have had access to some of that information. Indeed, while the Clinton campaign denied having funded the case, the US secret service knew it was a lie. Yet until Durham’s indictments, Schiff continued to defend the Russian collusion investigation and the Steele case.

Third, Schiff attempts to portray the only problem in the Steele dossier as Russian analyst Igor Danchenko. This is simply not true. Schiff had long known that there were allegations of misleading or false information given by the FBI to the secret court. Indeed, Durham’s first conviction concerned Kevin Clinesmith, the former FBI agent who pleaded guilty. Schiff knew that President Barack Obama was told in 2017 that Hillary Clinton allegedly intended to fabricate a Russian collusion scandal – just days before the Russian investigation began. The file was riddled with denied allegations.

Fourth, Schiff says he simply sought to investigate the allegations. However, Schiff was one of the most active members fueling allegations of Russian collusion. Indeed, when the Mueller investigation found no evidence of Russian collusion, Schiff immediately stated publicly that he had evidence of collusion in his commission files. It was about keeping the scandal alive. Schiff never produced proof that he had promised collusion.

While Schiff insists he was simply doing due diligence in pushing for an investigation, the demand is not only undermined by his refusal to acknowledge the obvious flaws in the case for years, but his opposition to the John Durham survey. Indeed, while Schiff insists he is happy to see people like Danchenko being prosecuted, he has opposed the continuation of this investigation and others.

Schiff told MSNBC the ongoing investigations would constitute a “demolition of our democracy” and serve to “delegitimize” a president. Schiff denounced the Durham inquiry as a “politically motivated” effort and resisted Trump’s demands to release a report ahead of the election. Schiff spoke about the end of the Durham investigation by Attorney General Merrick Garland before Durham could issue any indictments or reports.

He added: “The appointment is not in accordance with the wording of the law on which it is based and can be repealed, I believe, by the next attorney general. the work that John Durham does. “

So, Schiff is now announcing indictments by Durham despite the fact that, had he gotten what he wanted, there would have been neither Durham nor indictments.

The Russian collusion scandal was not a harmless political ploy. Lives have been destroyed. Carter Page, who has never been charged with a single felony, has been branded a Russian agent and pilloried through networks and the print media. A fortune has been spent on investigations by Congress, two special advisers and general investigations by inspectors. Hundreds of people were interviewed and many spent their savings on legal representation. A presidency has been derailed, agencies like the Justice Department and the FBI have been hit by a scandal, and Congress has abandoned a myriad of other issues to focus on various investigations.

As a result of these costs, Schiff offers little more than a shrug.

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Many have long marveled at the inability to shame politicians. This missing emotion was most famously captured by lawyer Joseph Welch during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954: “Are you finally no shame, sir? Have you no shame? ”

The answer is that we now live in a post-shame era where the only shame is to give in to the impulses of decency or decorum. The Russian collusion scandal has served its purpose and Adam Schiff would be the first to say there is no shame in it.

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