Timing is everything. House Democrats don’t take majority control for another five weeks, and while incoming committee chairs can begin prep work for the investigations they plan to launch, they can’t yet send subpoenas or hold hearings. This means that people like incoming House Intel Committee Chairman Adam Schiff have plenty of time before revealing precisely whom and what they’re going to target. Yet Schiff chose right now to make a big reveal.
Adam Schiff revealed today, via the USA Today newspaper, that right out of the gate he’s going to use his investigatory power to target Donald Trump Jr. Specifically, he’s going to focus on the phone call that Junior received – from a blocked number – just before he met with Russian government representatives at Trump Tower and illegally sought dirt on Hillary Clinton. Schiff suspects the same thing we all do, that the phone call was from Donald Trump. So why is this important?
Trump Jr thought he could turn over his phone records without giving anything away, because the phone number in question was blocked. But if Adam Schiff – an experienced former prosecutor – can prove that the call came from Donald Trump, it would all but prove that Trump was in on his son’s criminal collusion plot with the Russians. How does Schiff expect to prove this? He’s smartly not giving that part away yet. But the real upshot here may be the timing of this announcement.
This comes just hours after Special Counsel Robert Mueller ripped up his plea deal agreement with Paul Manafort, because Manafort lied to him. Manafort was also in attendance at Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with the Russians. What does this have to do with Adam Schiff suddenly announcing that he’s targeting Trump Jr’s phone call before the meeting? We don’t know yet. But keep in mind that, as ranking member, Schiff is already privy to much of what Mueller has uncovered.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report