Sean Davis spoke with Rep. John Ratcliffe today. The result is a must read article that's pretty much in the nature of a monologue by Ratcliffe: Adam Schiff’s Problem Isn’t That He’s Biased, It’s That He’s Running A Corrupt Process. I've called this post "A Prosecutor's Insights" because what Ratcliffe, a former prosecutor, presents are the insights that jump out at a professional prosecutor but might not occur to others.
The importance I see in Ratcliffe's presentation has to do with what could happen when, presumably, this hoax impeachment reaches the Senate. What Ratcliffe presents constitutes powerful grounds for dismissing any articles based on the fact that the House has deprived President Trump of Due Process--inflicting harm upon him without regard to fundamental fairness under our Constitution.
In a very real sense the issue of predication arises as part of this lack of due process--exactly how and on what basis was this "inquiry" instituted? No wrongdoing or offense has actually been alleged that would fall under the Constitutional standard of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors." Moreover, there are strong grounds to suspect that President Trump has been for his entire presidency the target of groundless investigation and even illegal leaks of classified information derived from organized spying. In other words, the entire operation was so lacking in predication--may actually involve fabricated "evidence"--as to constitute a concerted conspiracy precisely designed to deprive President Trump of due process and of his Constitutional rights as President and head of the Executive Branch.
With those considerations in mind, read what Ratcliffe had to say to The Federalist. He contends that Schiff's problem goes far beyond his well known bias against Trump and extends to real corruption that strikes at the validity of the inquiry. In other words, Ratcliffe is questioning not only the process that has been followed, but the character of its leader, who has compared himself to a prosecutor leading a grand jury.
“It’s more than just bias—it’s an actual legal conflict of interest,” Ratcliffe told The Federalist. “Schiff is using his authority as a Chairman presiding over an impeachment inquiry to prevent the investigation and discovery of facts about his own actions or the actions of his staff.”
“He is essentially a witness in the trial over which he is presiding,” Ratcliffe continued. “He has a conflict of interest because his testimony is relevant to the origins of the impeachment process that he is simultaneously conducting, directing and managing.”
When Ratcliffe refers to the "origins" he is referring, as AG Barr has repeatedly done with refernce to the Russia Hoax, to the predication for the investigation. Schiff, says Ratcliffe, is a necessary witness to the very origins of the inquiry and to the fundamental issue of whether there is any basis (predication) at all for such an inquiry--beyond political motives that fail to meet the constitutional standard. It's the issue of targeting an individual rather than a crime, which is a fundamental violation of due process.
Although Schiff initially claimed that he and his staff had never interacted with the anti-Trump complainant and didn’t even know who he was, the New York Times reported that the whistleblower secretly coordinated with Schiff’s Democratic staff, who then urged him to file a complaint against the president.
“The person who planted fake evidence shouldn’t be the one ruling on the admissibility of fake evidence,” Ratcliffe said on Friday.
“Despite initially denying any contact with the whistleblower, Schiff had already been briefed about at least one meeting between his staff and that individual prior to the filing of the complaint,” Ratcliffe said. “Material facts about the date, nature and extent of that meeting as well as any other contacts, communication or possible coordination between Chairman Schiff, his staff and the whistleblower were never disclosed by any of those parties to ICIG Michael Atkinson—facts confirmed in the sworn testimony of ICIG Atkinson which Chairman Schiff is refusing to release.”
Testimony by Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson revealed that ... [Ciaramella] ... concealed his contacts with Schiff from the ICIG in his complaint form. If the anti-Trump complainant did, in fact, refuse to disclose previous disclosures of his allegations to Congress or the news media, he could be subject to felony criminal penalties for making false statements. The final portion of the whistleblower form requires whistleblowers to attest under penalty of perjury that they have neither misstated nor concealed material facts in their complaints.
Schiff has refused to detail the breadth of his interactions with the anti-Trump complainant or explain why he lied about his staff’s collusion with the complainant. Ratcliffe told The Federalist that Schiff’s behavior was an “outrageous offense to legal due process.”
“Chairman Schiff has likewise refused to allow any inquiry by Republicans into these material facts which may bear on the credibility and motivation of the whistleblower and perhaps Chairman Schiff,” Ratcliffe said. “Republicans have been and continue to be deprived of the ability to investigate these material facts which can only be ascertained from the sworn testimony of Chairman Schiff, his staff and the whistleblower.”
“Chairman Schiff is a material fact witness in the same impeachment inquiry that Democrats have authorized him to preside over,” Ratcliffe continued. “It’s an outrageous offense to legal due process and any standard of fairness.”
Pretty much explains why Ciaramella is refusing to testify. He'll either be making false statements in his testimony, or confirming a false statement made to the IGIC.ReplyDelete
There are lots of Dems in that position.Delete
Also, didn't Devin Nunes recuse himself (early in '17?) as chair of the intel comm as Dems accused him of a conflict?ReplyDelete
More evidence of Reps following Queensberry rules, while Dems play by Alinsky's rules.
No, re Nunes recusing. I was listening to him just the other night and he made a big point of that. He didn't recuse, but stepped aside and let other GOPers on the committee lead.Delete
Thanks for the clarification.Delete
Lee Smith's new book goes into a lot of detail on that score, as well--everything that Schiff and Ted Deutch put Nunes and his family through.Delete