So just how desperate is the ranking Democrat of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, to find any materials proving collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia? Apparently desperate enough to buy into a wild prank pulled off by a pair of Russian comedians to the extent that he spent eight minutes with them on the phone in an attempt to finally realize his dream of proving collusion. To get an idea of how desperate Schiff was, try getting your own congressman on the phone for any length of time. Unless you are a major major campaign contributor you are pretty much out of luck.
The prank pulled off by the comedians happened on April 10, 2017 and was first reported by the Atlantic magazine in their January/February issue. The pranksters posed as Andriy Parubiy, the speaker of the Ukraininan parliament:
“In November 2013, Mr. Trump visited Moscow, he visited competition Miss Universe, and there he met with Russian journalist and celebrity Ksenia Sobchak,” he said in his heavily accented, awkward English. He explained that in addition to having ties to Putin, Sobchak is “also known as a person who provides girls for escort for oligarchs. And she met with Trump and she brought him one Russian girl, celebrity Olga Buzova.” Schiff soberly asked for clarification, and Parubiy answered directly: Sobchak, he said, is a “special agent of Russian secret service.”
Buzova “got compromising materials on Trump after their short relations,” Parubiy said. “There were pictures of naked Trump.”
Schiff betrayed no emotion. “And so Putin was made aware of the availability of the compromising material?” he asked.
“Yes, of course,” Parubiy said. Putin wanted it communicated to Trump that “all those compromising materials will never be released if Trump will cancel all Russian sanctions.” The biggest bombshell: He had obtained a recording of Buzova and Sobchak talking about the kompromat while the two were visiting Ukraine. He told Schiff, “We are ready to provide [those materials] to FBI.”
Alana Goodman at the London Daily Mail reported Tuesday that Schiff claims he wasn't fooled despite spending all that time on the phone with the comedians:
Schiff's office said the congressman suspected the call was 'bogus' from the beginning and reported it to authorities afterward.
But in a recording of the eight minute conversation, Schiff appeared to take the call seriously – or at least played along convincingly -- and emails from the Democrat's staff to the fake politician afterwards said he had found it 'productive'.
You can listen to an audio recording of the call here and judge for yourself just how seriously Schiff took it since it seems like he was taking notes from the information the Russian comedians were feeding him.
You can read for yourself at the Daily Mail the followup emails sent between Schiff's office and the Russian pranksters which gives a lot of credibility to the idea of how seriously the material promised by the comedians was taken. Here is just one of those emails sent by Schiff aide Rheanne Wirkkala:
"I understand Mr. Schiff had a productive call with Mr. Parubiy, and that Mr. Parubiy would like to make some material available to Mr. Schiff through your embassy."
Exit question: Did comedians Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov serve as the Russian sources Christopher Steele paid to get information for his dossier?