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Republicans’ laughable effort to attack Adam Schiff lands with a thud

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Republicans’ effort to castigate California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee spearheading the impeachment inquiry, met a quick and sudden defeat on Monday in a vote of 218-185.

Spurred on by President Donald Trump’s attacks on the chairman, GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy led an effort to censure Schiff on the House floor. On what grounds? It’s almost too absurd to make up: lying.

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The party of Donald Trump — who lied more times in the hours before the censure vote than Schiff even stands accused of — actually claimed that it’s the California lawmaker who should be called out for dishonesty.

So what are the “lies” the GOP accuses Schiff of?

The first is an entirely frivolous charge. Trump and Republicans have latched on to a moment in a hearing on Sept. 26 in which Schiff re-enacted the president’s Ukraine call that triggered the impeachment inquiry. Schiff exaggerated the dialogue and did not quote the transcript verbatim, so Trump and Republicans have accused him of lying. But he wasn’t, in fact, lying at all, because he made clear at the beginning of his remarks that he wouldn’t be providing “the exact transcribed version of the call” but instead “the essence of what the president communicates.” You can quibble about how fair Schiff was to the president, but it wasn’t a lie, and it was certainly not close to anything that would warrant censure.

The second instance of Schiff’s supposed lying is somewhat more dubious, but it’s still not even clear it was a lie, and even it was, it’s not clear why it would be significant. This accusation focuses on Schiff’s public comments about the whistleblower who alerted the country to Trump’s call with Ukraine. In one interview, Schiff was asked if his committee had spoken to the whistleblower, and he said “we” hadn’t. Later it was revealed that the whistleblower had come to committee staff prior to filing the complaint, and the staff, as is procedure, directed the whistleblower to follow the standard protocols.

This slight discrepancy has been catastrophized by Republicans, who have been screaming that it shows some kind of duplicity. But there are plenty of plausible, innocent explanations for Schiff’s claim. He may have simply been referring to the fact that the committee had not interviewed the whistleblower. Or he may have been trying to help keep the whistleblower’s identity a secret, as the law guarantees, by declining to reveal information about their contacts.

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Republicans insist there must be a nefarious reason for the lie. But it’s hard to actually see what this reason could possibly be. Even if the darkest right-wing fever dreams are true, and Schiff colluded with the whistleblower to craft the complaint to take down the president, the fact is that Trump, the White House, and Rudy Giuliani have already confirmed the central damning details included in the complaint. Perhaps we could chide Schiff for not being more forthright — again, assuming a far-fetched theory for which there is no compelling evidence — but even then, there’s no real substance to his supposed wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Trump lies every day, about things big and small and about his own criminality. And Republicans, for the most part, just don’t care.

So why all this fulmination about Schiff?

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The answer is simple: Republicans need an enemy. That’s why Trump tried to turn Rober Mueller into an enemy during the Russia investigation. Since Trump is obviously guilty of the misconduct he’s been accused of, his best defense is to distract claim his accusers and the people who can hold him accountable are the real wrongdoers.

Schiff has become the target because he’s an articulate, prominent, and powerful critic of the president. The slander of him is preposterous on its face, but for Trump devotees — or even those desperate to claim both sides are acting badly — that won’t matter. All that matters is that he fills the role of antagonist in the Trump-focused melodrama.

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Trump whines about ‘demeaning and belittling’ new book titled ‘A Very Stable Genius’

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President Donald Trump lashed out at two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists on Saturday after returning to Mar-a-Lago from Trump International Golf Club.

Trump lashed out at Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig for their highly-anticipated new book, A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump's Testing of America, which will be released on Tuesday.

The two were on The Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Trump administration.

"Another Fake Book by two third rate Washington Post reporters, has already proven to be inaccurately reported, to their great embarrassment, all for the purpose of demeaning and belittling a President who is getting great things done for our Country, at a record clip," Trump claimed, without offering any evidence.

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Impeachment managers release trial memorandum detailing why Trump must be removed from office

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House impeachment managers released an in-depth trial memorandum laying out the case for convicting President Donald Trump during his Senate impeachment trial.

The memorandum was released by representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Val Demings (D-FL), Jason Crow (D-CO) and Sylvia Garcia (D-FL).

The document divides the argument by the House of Representatives into three points.

"The Senate should convict President Trump of abuse of power," is the first section.

"The Senate should convict President Trump of obstruction of Congress," is the second section.

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2020 Election

He ‘can’t understand why he is being impeached’: CNN reports Trump is asking ’why are they doing this to me?’

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President Donald Trump is reportedly "distracted" by impeachment while vacationing at Mar-a-Lago as the United States Senate trial begins.

"A source close to the White House who speaks to Donald Trump regularly said the President has appeared 'distracted' by the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, telling people around him Friday night at Mar-a-Lago that he 'can't understand why he is impeached,'" CNN's Jim Acosta reported Saturday. "'Why are they doing this to me,' the source quoted Trump as saying repeatedly."

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