White House

Trump Suggests Schiff’s ‘Parody’ of Transcript Could Warrant ‘Arrest for Treason’

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Joint Base Andrews, Md., September 26, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump suggested in a Monday morning tweet that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) committed treason during Thursday’s hearing on Capitol Hill.

“Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people,” the tweet reads. “It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?”

Last Friday, Trump demanded in another tweet that Schiff “immediately resign.”

Schiff drew heavy criticism from Republicans last week following a Thursday hearing in which he offered an embellished summary of Trump’s July call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.  The hearing featured testimony from Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who was called before the panel to discuss his handling of the recent Ukraine whistleblower complaint.

Schiff claimed during the statement that the “essence” of Trump’s call with Ukrainian Zelensky  “reads like a classic organized crime shakedown,” and said that the president basically asked Zelensky to “make up dirt on my political opponent.”

Representative Mike Turner (R., Ohio) challenged the wording of Schiff’s statement, remarking that “the American public are smart and they have the transcript. They’ve read the conversation, they know when someone’s just making it up.”

Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) also criticized Schiff during her turn to question Maguire, stating “I’m not going to improvise for parody purposes like the chairman of this committee did. I’m going to quote it directly.” On Friday, the incoming House Freedom Caucus chairman, Representative Andy Biggs (R., Ariz.), introduced a measure to censure Schiff for an “egregiously false and fabricated retelling.”

Schiff responded to the criticism later in the hearing by claiming that his summary “was meant to be, at least part, in parody.”

“The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself,” said Schiff. “Of course, the President never said, ‘if you don’t understand me I’m going to say it seven more times,’ my point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words.”

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