Stephanopoulos Goes Soft on Calls for Schiff’s Investigation Recusal

The liberal media was overjoyed Thursday, by the fact that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was recusing himself from his committee’s Russian influence investigation after he discussed evidence with the press. The media weren’t so keen on similar calls for the ranking Democrat on the Committee, Adam Schiff to do the same after he opened up to the press about what evidence he had seen. During ABC’s This Week, moderator George Stephanopoulos teed-up Schiff to combat those demands.

“I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but your former colleague on the House, Mike Rogers also CIA Director, had suggested you should also recuse yourself now from the Intelligence Committee investigation,” Stephanopoulos explained to his guest. Quoting a statement from Rogers, Stephanopoulos said:

Here’s what he wrote, he said: “Representative Adam Schiff could consider recusing himself from the probe. For his part, Schiff suggested to the media that he had seen information on Russia-Trump campaign ties that was “the kind of evidence” that would be presented to a grand jury, adding that he had seen additional evidence, but not elaborating further.” Suggesting that you also revealed intelligence you shouldn't have.

“You know, a lot of us have characterized how we have seen the intelligence,” Schiff said in his defense, before chiding that, “Mr. Rogers and others don't quarrel with those who say they see no evidence.” Schiff tried to discredit Rogers’ claims, stating, “I don't think that is an accurate assessment. And I certainly don't think I can let it stand. But I don't think Mr. Rogers' suggestion is a serious one.”

Stephanopoulos moved right along and gave Schiff the floor to tout the efforts of his committee, asking “Is your investigation back on track?” Schiff then took a shot at Nunes, “I can happily report that I think we're back to where we were before the whole White House excursion. And I think that is enormously important for the investigation.”

Before Schiff made his appearance, Stephanopoulos had Republican Senator Marco Rubio on to discuss the Syria strikes and the Senate’s own investigation, to name a few topics. When asked to refute President Trump’s suggestion that former National Security Adviser Susan Rice had committed a crime in unmasking Trump aides, Rubio seemed to school Stephanopoulos on how Congress should be conducting an investigation:

Well, I usually try not to opine on those issues. Suffice it to say that I have not seen anything like it. But let me say this: I think we’ve learned over the last couple of weeks how bad it is to talk and debate these things in front of the media. If you're serious about a fact-finding mission, you wait for the facts to come in, you write a report, make them public. Then you and members of the Senate, the House, the American public can look at those facts and decide where we should go from there.

It was rather ironic that Rubio made that assertion shortly before Schiff came on the air. It’s also humorous that Rubio quipped about people trying to find a way to become famous through all of this since Schiff had become a staple of the liberal media’s coverage. And by Stephanopoulos’s lack of push back it’s clear that he found little issue with Schiff’s assertions, if not agreed with them. 

Transcript below: 

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ABC
This Week
April 9, 2017
9:34:19 AM Eastern

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, you're a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. President Trump told The New York Times this week that he thinks Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, may have committed a crime. He offered no evidence for this at all, but may have committed a crime as she was reviewing those intelligence files that dealt with the Trump transition. As I said, you're a member of the Intelligence Committee. Have you seen any evidence at all to back up a claim like that?

MARCO RUBIO: Well, I usually try not to opine on those issues. Suffice it to say that I have not seen anything like it. But let me say this: I think we’ve learned over the last couple of weeks how bad it is to talk and debate these things in front of the media. If you're serious about a fact-finding mission, you wait for the facts to come in, you write a report, make them public. Then you and members of the Senate, the House, the American public can look at those facts and decide where we should go from there.

And that's what we're in the process of doing. I'm very proud of the work of the Intelligence Committee is doing in the Senate. It's bipartisan. Everyone is working hard. No one is trying to turn this into a way to get famous. And I think I’m more confident than ever that we’re going to prepare a package-- we're going prepare a report that’s going to lay out all the facts across a number of topics, and that would allow you and others to look at it and from there, draw conclusions of what should happen next, and who was involved and who wasn’t. And I just ask everyone for a little bit of patience. It's not going to be as fast as you want. But it’s will be done right. And I'm more confident today than I have ever been about that.

9:37:04 AM Eastern

STEPHANOPOULOS: One more question on your investigation. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but your former colleague on the House, Mike Rogers also CIA Director, had suggested you should also recuse yourself now from the Intelligence Committee investigation. Here’s what he wrote, he said: “Representative Adam Schiff could consider recusing himself from the probe. For his part, Schiff suggested to the media that he had seen information on Russia-Trump campaign ties that was “the kind of evidence” that would be presented to a grand jury, adding that he had seen additional evidence, but not elaborating further.” Suggesting that you also revealed intelligence you shouldn't have.

ADMA SCHIFF: You know, a lot of us have characterized how we have seen the intelligence. Some have said it looks more like smoke than fire. Some have said its small fire. Some have said they’ve seen no evidence. Mr. Rogers and others don't quarrel with those who say they see no evidence. I don't think that is an accurate assessment. And I certainly don't think I can let it stand. But I don't think Mr. Rogers' suggestion is a serious one.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is your investigation back on track?

SCHIFF: It is back on track. We’ve exchanged witness lists. I think we're largely in agreement with those witness lists. We're also discussing moving forward in terms of our committee hearings. And so, I can happily report that I think we're back to where we were before the whole White House excursion. And I think that is enormously important for the investigation.

CyberAlerts Foreign Policy Russia Bias by Omission Conspiracy Theories Double Standards Labeling Trump transition Political Scandals ABC This Week Video George Stephanopoulos Marco Rubio Adam Schiff Devin Nunes