Let's give Morning Joe some modified credit. On today's show, Democrat House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff was criticized for not telling the truth when Sam Stein asked him on the show's September 17th episode whether his committee had spoken with the whistleblower. Schiff denied it to Stein. In fact, the whistleblower had contacted the committee, and they spoke.
Offered Stein today:
"I will say, this puts him in some trouble. He clearly wasn't being forthright in that interview with us a couple weeks ago. And he should have been."
So, credit for that. But Stein went on to downplay the significance of Schiff's untruth, saying that the substance of the whistleblower complaint is more important than the process by which it was made public. Stein also reported Schiff's excuse:
He said at the time when he was saying that, obviously we now know that the whistleblower had approached his staff, but there wasn’t 100% certainty that the whistleblower who when approached his staff was the same one behind the actual complaint. There was a suspicion it was but it wasn’t 100% certainty.
Here's the transcript. Click "expand" to read more.
6:18 am EDT
WILLIE GEIST: Sam Stein, I want to play a clip from this very show, September 17th. Chairman Schiff was on the show, and you asked him a question that has raised some eyebrows in the last 24 hours.
SAM STEIN [from Morning Joe, 9/17/19]: Congressman, a couple questions here on this whistleblower front. First off, have you heard from the whistleblower? Are you — do you want to hear from the whistleblower? What protections could you provide to the whistleblower?
. . .
ADAM SCHIFF: We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.
GEIST: Sam, you spoke to Chairman Schiff last night. I want to read the quote again; that was September 17th. Quote, we have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. How does he explain that when clearly at that point the whistleblower had come to Chairman Schiff’s committee?
STEIN: So, we talked for a couple minutes last night. He expressed regret for not having been more clear in his wording.
GEIST: What did he say?
STEIN: He said at the time when he was saying that, obviously we now know that the whistleblower had approached his staff, but there wasn’t 100% certainty that the whistleblower who when approached his staff was the same one behind the actual complaint. There was a suspicion it was but it wasn’t 100% certainty.
He also was explaining that he was trying to compel the whistleblower to come testify before the committee when he was saying that, but, again, he expressed regret for what he said on the initial interview with Morning Joe, and said he should have been much more clear about it.
I will say this puts him in some — in some trouble. He clearly wasn’t being forthright in that interview with us a couple weeks ago and he should have been.
That being said, if you’re really bothered by the — what words Schiff said a couple weeks ago, and not the complaint or the fact that, for instance, Mike Pompeo claimed he wasn’t on the call and it turned out he was, then you’re being dishonest about this entire process. It’s the substance of the complaint that’s the story. The process by which the complaint became public is a story, and you can consider that in its own right, but in terms of gravity of the situation, I don’t think the process actually stands up all that well to the complaint itself.