Wednesday brought the revelation that House Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff misled Sam Stein on MSNBC's Morning Joe on September 17. Naturally enough, Thursday on another MSNBC show, MSNBC Live, host Hallie Jackson decided to play up the "Republicans Seize" angle with NBC's Ken Dilanian. At least they didn't pounce.
Jackson began by introducing the clip of Schiff and Stein from last month, "The president and his allies today calling Schiff a disaster, a sociopath, insisting he needs to resign. They're accuse Schiff of orchestrating the whistleblower complaint and questioning what he knew, when, pointing to this interview on MSNBC last month."
After the brief clip turned to Dilanian, "Ken, explain why the President's allies are seizing on that sound bite from Adam Schiff and what the congressman and people around him are saying." Dilanian, to his credit, stated the obvious, something that not everybody in the media can bother to acknowledge, "Hallie, because it wasn't true." He then went on to give Schiff's side of the story, where Schiff said he did nothing wrong and that the whole thing could be described as standard operating procedure.
Dilanian ultimately defended Schiff, "yes, Schiff did get an early head's up, but this was handled the way whistleblower complaints normally are handled and it's not clear that he did anything wrong here and certainly didn't orchestrate the writing of this complaint, Hallie."
If Schiff did in fact do nothing wrong, then at the very least he should be asked why he felt the need to lie about it to a friendly audience and whether this damages the credibility of his investigation, because it is just one more piece of evidence than he is just another run-of-the-mill political hack, not the great defender of national security his media defenders portray him as. The way to find out this answer is not by running "Republicans Seize" headlines.
Here is a transcript for the October 3 show. Click "expand" to read more.
MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson
10:08 AM ET
HALLIE JACKSON: As we talk about what else the president is doing, he’s somebody who likes an opponent and this morning it is again House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff. The president and his allies today calling Schiff a disaster, a sociopath, insisting he needs to resign. They're accuse Schiff of orchestrating the whistleblower complaint and questioning what he knew, when, pointing to this interview on MSNBC last month.
SAM STEIN: First off, have you heard from the whistleblower
ADAM SCHIFF: We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.
JACKSON: NBC’s Ken Dilanian is here with his new reporting out this morning. Ken, explain why the president's allies are seizing on that sound bite from Adam Schiff and what the congressman and people around him are saying.
KEN DILANIAN: Hallie, because it wasn't true. Adam Schiff has acknowledged to Sam Stein, the questioner there, that was a regrettable lapse on his part because, in fact, his office, an aide to Schiff did speak to the whistleblower, but it's also important to point out the sequence here, Hallie and, in fact, there is no evidence that Adam Schiff orchestrated this complaint. Here's what happened. This person, a CIA officer, had conveyed his complaints to the CIA general counsel through a colleague. But then became concerned because the CIA general counsel alerted the White House and the whistleblower thought the complaint was being mishandled, so he went as many intelligence officers do, almost routinely to the Oversight Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff's office, and described in vague terms, we're told, the nature of his complaint and the staff told him what they tell other people who come forward to them. Go to the inspector general. You may want to hire a lawyer but file a formal complaint with the inspector general of the intelligence committee and it will get to us and that's exactly what happened and the result of this, though, Hallie, when Adam Schiff and other members of congress learned that the ICIG had this urgent concern complaint but being ordered not to send it to Congress, Schiff alone, among lawmakers, knew that this was a significant matter, that potentially involved the president, and that's why he made a big deal about it and issued a subpoena and began going public and that arguably is the reason that we know more about this complaint today, so at the end of the day, yes, Schiff did get an early head's up, but this was handled the way whistleblower complaints normally are handled and it's not clear that he did anything wrong here and certainly didn't orchestrate the writing of this complaint, Hallie.
JACKSON: Ken Delaney with that reality check there, Ken thanks for the context, I appreciate it.