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Schiff Misinterpreted Parnas’s Texts, Falsely Tying Him to Ukrainian President

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff addresses a news conference on Capitol Hill, December 3, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) likely mistook texts between Lev Parnas and Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Burisma, as messages between the former Rudy Giuliani associate and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to unredacted documents reviewed by Politico.

In a letter from Schiff to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D., N.Y.), the California Democrat alleges that Parnas “continued to try to arrange a meeting with President Zelensky” and cites a redacted text exchange between Parnas and Giuliani about “trying to get us mr Z.”

After reviewing an unredacted version of the exchange, Politico found that Parnas again referenced “mr Z” days later during an exchange with Giuliani about his notes from an interview with Zlochevsky. No names are shown in the transcript, but the questions and answers center around Burisma and its business practices.

Following the release of Parnas’s texts, which detailed efforts to remove then–U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, Schiff tweeted that the evidence helps to reveal “the origins and key players in Trump’s scheme.”

While a Democratic official told Politico that “z” was regular short-hand for “Zelensky,” he did not deny the incorrect characterization of the specific claim in question.

Following the news, Representative Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) slammed Schiff for the mistake.

“They accused us of doing nefarious things with this Lev Parnas character. The truth is, Adam Schiff and the Democrats have been doing nefarious things with Parnas,” Nunes said to Sean Hannity.

Schiff has come under fire in the past for not being totally forthright in the impeachment inquiry. His caricatured description of President Trump’s call in a hearing prompted the president to suggest he committed “treason,” while later reports revealed the whistleblower had informed Schiff of the complaint before it was filed.

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