Donald Trump is nothing if not predictable. He tried to pick a very public and very ugly fight today against Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Trump’s attacks on Schiff ranged from juvenile insults to false accusations of specific crimes. This evening we learned why Trump spent the day targeting Schiff, and how things are about to – as per usual these days – blow up in Trump’s face.
Here’s what Trump tweeted today: “Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!” He’s clearly running out of insulting nicknames, to the point that he’s recycling them. He’s also desperate enough to accuse everyone of committing crimes against him. We already knew this had something to do with Trump’s failed Devin Nunes memo stunt, as Nunes is the Chair of the House Intel Committee. Now we know what’s really going on.
Sometime after Trump posted this tweet, the House Intel Committee unanimously voted to allow the release of a rebuttal memo that Schiff wrote in response to the Nunes memo, according to CNN and other sources. This is somewhat remarkable, as it means that every Republican on the committee – apparently even Nunes – voted in favor of the Schiff memo’s release. After the Nunes memo landed with a thud, this appears to be another sign that the GOP is trying to distance itself and make the memo solely Trump’s problem.
This leaves Donald Trump in a bad situation. He can still refuse to declassify the Adam Schiff memo, which would prevent the committee from formally releasing it. However, when the Republicans weren’t sure if Trump would sign off on their memo, they publicly discussed simply reading aloud from the House floor, which would give them legal cover for disclosing the classified details. Schiff can now simply use the same tactic to make his memo public. Trump is just days away from being hit hard by the Schiff memo – which is why he’s targeting Schiff so frantically.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report