CA’s Adam Schiff: All Roads Lead to Russia?

BCK FILE--Last week, I wrote a CityWatch piece about Devin Nunes, (CA-22nd District) who is at the GOP epicenter of the Trump defense team as Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

This week, news broke that  Nunes, who joins Trump in his harsh criticism of the media, has his own media website called “The California Republican,” to cover “the best of US, California, and Central Valley news, sports, and analysis,” paid for by his own campaign committee, offering his own spin on Trump-Russiagate. 

Nunes isn’t the only California player on the national state. Adam Schiff (D-28th District), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo released last week. If you remember, Trump gave the go-ahead to Nunes but nixed publication of the Schiff memo, despite that representatives from both parties on the committee had voted to release the Democratic response. 

The Nunes memo, which the FBI says is missing critical info, states that the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant for the Trump campaign former foreign policy advisor Carter Page, was improperly obtained. (The same Carter Page bragged about having Kremlin ties back in 2013). 

Trump tweeted that the Nunes memo “totally vindicates” him in the Mueller probe, an estimation Rep. Schiff does not buy. As late as Friday, the president had said the release of the Schiff memo was forthcoming. 

However, White House Counsel Donald McGahn advised the Committee that “although the President is inclined to declassify the February 5th Memorandum, because the Memorandum contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages, he is unable to do so at this time.” 

Suspicious words for an administration that has multiple high level staff members who lack permanent security clearances, including the recently departed White House Staff Secretary and alleged domestic abuser Rob Porter, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and dozens of other staff members. Trump sent the memo back to the committee for revisions. 

Rep. Schiff rebuffed Trump’s refusals, CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that, “The hypocrisy of this just kind of reaches out and grabs you by the throat. This is a president who puts his own personal interest  above all else.” 

Conservative media (and Nunes) appear to be peddling a different version of reality, following the Kellyanne Conway’s “Alternative Facts” playbook, turning just about every aspect of the Trump presidency and administration into “he said/she said.” 

Adam Schiff and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-33rd District), appear regularly on cable news, Sunday morning political programs, and in Twitter feeds to dispel the Trump take. Next week, we’ll take a look at Lieu. 

Just who is Adam Schiff? The U.S. Representative from the 28th district has served in Congress since 2001, representing the 27th and 29th districts (2001-2013). Before redistricting in 2010, his area included areas of Alhambra, Altadena, San Gabriel, Burbank, Glendale, South Pasadena, Temple City, Monterey Park, and Pasadena. After redistricting, he also represents La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta-Montrose, Sunland-Tujunga, as well as Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Los Feliz, as well as Burbank, Glendale, and western Pasadena. 

Schiff has been a key Democratic voice in the House on foreign policy and national security issues. He is currently on leave from the House Appropriations Committee, where he served since 2007, and has also served on the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee. 

The Representative earned a political science degree from Stanford University and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School before serving as a prosecutor in the LA branch of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As an Assistant US Attorney, he prosecuted a successful case against Richard Miller, the first FBI agent convicted of espionage. 

In what is an almost cinematic-worthy twist, Miller, who had a rather poor record at the FBI, began an affair with Soviet spy Svetlana Ogorodnikova in 1984. Miller gave his lover classified information, including an FBI counterintelligence manual, in exchange for sexual favors, $15,000 in cash and $50,000 in gold.

All roads lead to the Kremlin?

(Beth Cone Kramer is a professional writer living in the Los Angeles area. She covers Resistance Watch and other major issues for CityWatch.)