Adam Schiff is the congressman of Hollywood, and in Hollywood, he can do no wrong as he wages war on President Donald Trump.
For proof, look no further than the slobbery interview granted by ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Feb. 24. Several times, Kimmel made the point that Schiff is "our local congressman" and has an office "right down the block" on Hollywood Boulevard.
After some pleasantries about how Schiff gets stopped on the streets by (mostly) admiring citizens, the talk turned to President Trump. Kimmel ran a clip in which Trump insisted Schiff be investigated for having leaked details of a classified briefing on Russian interference in the 2020 election to the newspapers. Kimmel, who's no lawyer, said nothing about it being illegal to share classified information, and he certainly didn't ask Schiff to deny he had leaked classified information.
The newspapers disdained Trump's allegation as being "without evidence," which is very convenient when they keep their sources anonymous.
Kimmel acted amazed. "Who is 'they' that he wants ... to do an investigation of you? Would this be your fellow congressmen?" Schiff said: "No, it's much more malicious than that. He wants the Justice Department — his hand-picked hack at the attorney general's office, Bill Barr — to investigate his political enemies." Kimmel replied "(S)houldn't everyone, regardless of their party, be very troubled by this?" Schiff said, "Absolutely."
When Sen. Martha McSally calls a CNN reporter a "hack," the entire media elite is outraged, but when Schiff calls the attorney general a "hack," everyone just nods and giggles. Kimmel, who defined the word "hack," insisted that Schiff's partisan behavior be defended "regardless of ... party."
Kimmel wanted the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to be outraged. They were — at the leaks from people still trying to claim that there is some grand Russian-collusion scheme. Schiff raised the name of ranking member Devin Nunes, and Kimmel pounced.
"Devin Nunes ... for whatever reason, just kind of came out of nowhere, and really has devoted his life to protecting Donald Trump, for reasons that are unknown to me," he said, as if Nunes hasn't been in Congress since 2003 — in other words, as long as "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Kimmel added: "I don't know if he's dumb, if he's evil, if he's some combination of the two. I'm pretty sure he's dumb. I won't speak to evil. But what's going on there?"
This is the classic divide for liberals when it comes to conservatives: Conservatives are either dumb (liberal take on former Vice President Dan Quayle) or evil (liberal take on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich). Jimmy Kimmel never graduated from college, but he can play to the gallery and pretend the Republicans are idiots or villains. He's a comedian, so he's the smartest guy in the room.
This is why Schiff can do no wrong. Which congressman has been vindicated by the evidence on the charge of Russian collusion: Schiff or Nunes? It doesn't matter what special counsel Robert Mueller's report said — although it showed Schiff was wrong when he said he had definitive evidence of collusion.
It certainly doesn't matter what the report from Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz said. Nunes composed a memo on how the hacks in former President Barack Obama's Justice Department abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Trump's transition team. Schiff offered a memo in rebuttal. On each point, Horowitz found that Nunes was right and Schiff was wrong.
Jimmy Kimmel is running a comedy show, not a court proceeding. He just feels in his heart that Schiff is right. He gushes to Schiff and says, "I am grateful for what you do," because they both desperately want to end Trump's presidency.
(Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.)