Rep. Adam Schiff represents California’s 28th congressional district, which includes much of Los Angeles County. Schiff, 57, was first elected to Congress in 2000 and is now the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Schiff’s meticulous and detail-oriented style, combined with his soft-spoken manner, has made him one of the most effective legislators involved in the probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.
Why is Schiff in the news?
The House Intelligence Committee is one of the key bodies investigating Russia’s election interference and any possible collusion with the Trump campaign. As the ranking Democrat on the committee, Schiff has been leading the fight against Republican attempts to either scale back the investigation, shift it to questioning the Obama administration’s actions, or use the committee to raise doubts about the FBI’s impartiality.
Schiff has locked horns with Republican chairman Devin Nunes. They first sparred over the chairman’s attempt last year to bypass the committee by arguing that he had seen proof that the Obama administration was involved in surveilling members of the Trump campaign. More recently, Schiff waged a battle to block the publication of Nunes’s memo, which alleges that the FBI misled a special intelligence court when requesting permission to surveil former Trump adviser Carter Page.
Why is Schiff trying to block the Nunes memo?
Schiff and Democrats on the committee claim the Nunes memo is inaccurate and distorts the truth in order to taint the FBI. He also sided with the FBI in arguing that making a top-secret document public would damage the work of the agency. After the committee voted to release the document along party lines, Schiff found that the version of the Nunes paper sent to the White House for a final security review and approval before publication had been altered and is not identical to that approved by the committee.
What’s in Schiff’s memo?
Schiff had prepared his own 10-page memo in response. In his memo, Schiff counters the claims raised by Republicans, and argues that the request presented to the intelligence court to surveil Page was carried out properly. Schiff’s memo also criticizes Nunes himself, claiming that Nunes’s entire move is aimed at helping Trump defend himself in the Russia case. Schiff’s memo has not been released to the public and will require approval of the Justice Department.
What else has Schiff said about Trump?
Schiff has not limited his criticism of Trump to issues relating to the Russia investigation. He accused Trump of leaking classified information to the Russians during a White House meeting, and demanded that Trump provide full reports about his meetings with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Schiff even publicly questioned the president’s mental fitness.
Despite all this, Schiff somehow managed to get a good word out of Trump, who reportedly told him he was doing a “good job.”
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.