Schiff: Trump ‘Has Made a Religious Man Out of Vladimir Putin’

By Melanie Arter | January 24, 2020 | 10:37am EST
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked God that President Donald Trump was pushing the debunked theory that Ukraine was behind the hack of the DNC servers, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said Wednesday.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, Schiff, who is House impeachment manager and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, recounted FBI Director Christopher Wray’s interview with a reporter. In that interview, Wray said the FBI has no information indicating that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

“That is Donald Trump's director of the FBI. We have no information that indicates Ukraine interfered with the 2016 election. None as in zero,” Schiff said.

“The reporter then says when you see politicians pushing this notion, are you concerned about that in terms of the impact on the American public, and the director says, well, look, there's all kind of people saying all kinds of things out there,” he recounted.

“Well, yes, there are,” Schiff said, “but this person was the president of the United States. When he says there's all kinds of people out there saying all kinds of things, what he's really saying is the president of the United States. It's one thing if someone off the street says it, but when it's coming from the president of the United States, you can see what a danger it is if it's patently false and it is promulgated by the Russians,” Schiff said.

“And again, the reporter says, and we heard from the president himself that he wanted the Crowdstrike portion of this whole conspiracy investigated. I'm hearing you saying there's no evidence to support this, and Ray says, as I said, we have -- we at the FBI have no information that would indicate the Ukraine tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. None,” the congressman said.

Schiff imagined Putin’s reaction:

So you can imagine the view from the Kremlin of all of this. You can imagine Putin in the Kremlin with his aides when one of his aides comes in to the office and says, Vladimir, you're never going to believe this. The president of the United States is pushing our Crowdstrike theory. 

You can almost imagine the incredulity of Vladimir Putin. You're kidding, right? You mean he really believes this? His own people don't believe this. Nobody believes this. And It's not -- it would be bad enough, of course, that the president of the United States believes this Russian propaganda against the advice of all of his advisers, common sense and everything else, but it's worse than that. It's worse than that. 

On the basis of this Russian propaganda, he withheld $400 million in military aid to a nation Russia was fighting, our ally. When we ask about, okay, what’s the national security implication of what the president did, how much more clearer can it be that he's not only pushing Russian propaganda, he's not only misleading Americans about who interfered in the last election, that he's not only doing the Kremlin a favor, but that he's withholding aid from a nation at war. The Russians not only got him to deflect blame from their interference in our democracy, but they got him to withhold military aid. 

Now of course there's this convergence of interest between the Kremlin and the president. The president wasn't pushing Kremlin talking points just to do Vladimir Putin a favor. He was doing it because it helped him, because it helped him, because it could get these talking points for him in his re-election campaign. And for that, he would sacrifice our ally and our own security. 

But nothing struck me more from representative Garcia's presentation than that quote from Vladimir Putin from November of this past year. So just a couple of months ago. Thank God, Putin said, nobody accuses of interfering in U.S. elections. Now they’re accusing Ukraine. Thank God. Well you gotta give Donald Trump credit for this. He has made a religious man out of Vladimir Putin.

Schiff said he doesn’t think Putin as an adversary should be thanking God for Trump, because he doesn’t wish the United States well. 

“But I don't think -- I don't think we really want Vladimir Putin, our adversary, to be thanking God for the president of the United States, because they don't wish us well. They don't wish us well. They are a wounded animal. They are a declining power, but like any wounded animal, they are a dangerous animal. Their world view is completely antithetical to ours,” he said. 

“We don't want them thanking God for our president and what he is pushing out. We don't want them thanking God for withholding money from our ally, although we can understand why they may. And to me, that’s what stuck out from that presentation,” the congressman said.


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