- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

For those who didn’t have time to tune in to the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing for the FBI’s James Comey and the NSA’s Michael Rogers, here’s a hint of what you’ve missed: a Democratic take-down attempt of President Donald Trump.

A Democratic ploy to showcase the president as dangerous to America’s security.

Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat from California, spent his 15 minutes of morning Q&A first using Comey to underscore how the FBI has found no evidence to support Trump’s previously tweeted accusations of Trump Tower wiretapping at the hands of Obama — and then moving on to Rogers to prove the same.

This is not new — this information has already been released and reported.

But Schiff was using the line of questioning to lay the groundwork for something more significant — to make a deeper point. His unnecessary questioning was all leading to show how Trump’s so-called off-base tweets on the Obama-wiretap allegations were causing rifts in our foreign partnerships.

And that, you see, is a strategy the Democrats can then take to further their messaging that Trump’s a danger to the nation.

Here’s how the line of questioning went: Schiff referred to how Trump has suggested via tweets and statements that Obama put him under surveillance using either FBI or NSA sources, domestic or foreign. Both Comey and Rogers said they’ve found no evidence of such occurring within their own respective agencies.

Now here’s Schiff: “Our relationships with British intelligence is one of the closest we have with any foreign service. Isn’t that true?”

Rogers: “Yes sir.”

Schiff: “Now the British allies, our British allies have called the president’s suggestion that they wiretapped him for Obama nonsense and utterly ridiculous. Would you agree?”

Rogers: “Yes sir.”

Schiff: “Does it do damage to our relationship with one of our closest intelligence partners for the president to make a baseless claim, that the British participated in a conspiracy against him?”

Rogers: “I, I think it clearly frustrates it, a key ally of ours.”

Schiff, steely-eyed now: “It certainly wouldn’t endear the British intelligence services to continue working with us, would it?”

Rogers: “Um, I believe the relationship is strong enough, this is something we’ll be able to deal with.”

Schiff pauses, glances down, then up again.

Schiff: “But it’s not helpful, you agree.”

Rogers, trailing off: “Yes sir, that, that …”

And that right there is the Democrats new ploy — which is really just a continuation of an old ploy: to paint Trump as an ineffective leader.

But now, with this hearing on wiretapping, the Democrats, under the leadership of Schiff, have been handed a golden opportunity to show how America, under Trump, is losing her key allies — how Trump is compromising national security.

Watch for it; Democrats say they simply want the truth. But their actual intent is to find the partisan hook that can be used to hang Trump and make his presidency an utter fail.

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