- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2019

Rep. Adam B. Schiff on Sunday repeated his unfounded allegation that President Trump asked the president of the Ukraine to “manufacture dirt” on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

No such language is in a transcript of Mr. Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Republicans over the past two years have accused Mr. Schiff of fabricating evidence in the Russia probe and at one point asked him to quit as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Mr. Schiff, California Democrat, first made the “manufacture dirt” allegation Thursday during a committee hearing, saying he was quoting what was in a transcript of a July call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky.

When Republicans responded that no such wording exists in the transcript, Mr. Schiff agreed and said he had been doing “parody.”

He repeated that explanation on CNN.

Mr. Trump accused him of lying. A GOP congressman filed a resolution calling on the House to censure Mr. Schiff for fabricating quotes out of a document that is being used to try to impeach the president.

But on Friday night, Mr. Schiff tweeted the allegations again, saying the “whistleblower told us” Mr. Trump ordered up “manufactured dirt” during the phone call.

Such an explosive allegation is not in the whistleblower’s nine-page complaint he sent to Congress on Aug. 12 that spurred Democrats to open an impeachment inquiry.

Neither is Mr. Trump quoted in the official transcript as making such a remark in the July phone.

On ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Mr. Schiff repeated the charge.

“And the president used that opportunity to try to coerce that leader to manufacture dirt on his opponent and interfere in our election,” Mr. Schiff said. “It’s hard to imagine a series of facts more damning than that.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos didn’t ask a follow-up on how the remark on Thursday was “parody” and now is confirmed.

Republicans issued a letter last winter calling for Mr. Schiff to step down.

They say, for example, that he told the public that he had seen secret evidence of Mr. Trump conspiring with the Russians. He has never produced such evidence. Former special counsel Robert Mueller said he did not establish a conspiracy. No Trump associate was charged with collusion.

Mr. Schiff championed the Russian-sourced Democratic Party-financed dossier whose many allegations against Mr. Trump were shown to be false.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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