Rep. Adam Schiff, The Ranking House Intelligence Committee member, just released a statement that has effectively ended any cover-up story the Trump White House has been providing to the American people in regards to the Russian investigation. They simply don’t equate to the facts he said.
Here is the statement:
“If the White House had any concerns over these documents, or any other documents, they should have provided them to our committee weeks ago. Additionally, the White House has yet to explain why it attempted to conceal its role in the compilation of these materials. The White House is not a whistleblower and nothing that I was shown justifies such duplicitous conduct.
With respect to the issue of incidental collection, it is important for people to understand some basic facts:
First, whenever we are doing lawful surveillance for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence and the targets even mention U.S. persons or businesses, that can be considered “incidental collection.” Of course, incidental collection can also occur when a foreign party we are lawfully collecting on calls or writes to a U.S. person. Some incidental collection is unavoidable, and as long as proper procedures are being followed, it is fully lawful. It does not constitute either wiretapping or surveillance of Americans.
Second, when that incidental collection is included in an intelligence report, the names of the U.S. persons are masked. It may be possible, at times, to guess who the identities are even though they are masked. This, too, is neither uncommon nor improper. When it is necessary to unmask a name to understand the significance of the communication, there is a process for doing so, which is also lawful. Our committee routinely reviews whether our intelligence agencies are properly masking names and unmasking them as appropriate.”
Basically, the Trump and Republicans are trying to make it seem like regular collection of intelligence information with foreign officials is the same thing as spying, which is completely untrue. Trump called the unmasking “unprecedented” and a “crooked scheme.”
What they don’t say is that Trump got the information from far-right conservative circles and from an extremist named Mike Cernovich who was also behind the “Pizzagate controversy” against Hillary Clinton that was already debunked. Fox News then ended up running with the story and eventually Trump got his hands on it.
Rep. Adam Schiff just had to set the record straight.
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