Trust No One, Especially Adam Schiff

Adam Schiff has been in government his entire life. The ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has worked as a prosecutor, served one term as a California state senator, and has represented his Southern California congressional district for 18 years and counting. In a recent column for Esquire, Schiff claimed that President Trump has tried to undermine the checks and balances that protect the FBI from political meddling. It’s an odd claim.

Schiff’s recent conduct puts his truthfulness at issue. In anticipation of the release of the Nunes memo on FISA abuse, Schiff claimed that making the classified document public would pose a national security risk by compromising “sources and methods.” But anyone who has read the now-declassified memo knows that is manifestly untrue.

Now Schiff claims, “Jimmy Carter campaigned for president in 1976 promising . . . he would wall off the Department of Justice and FBI from political influence and direction.” He asserts, “What we have witnessed during the first year of the Trump Administration is a determined effort to demolish the separation between politics and the fair administration of justice—an attempt to turn the DOJ’s investigative powers into the personal political tool of the president.”

Schiff’s claims are misleading at best or at worst, simply false. Two key reforms dating from 1976 are relevant here. One is the 10-year term of the FBI director. The other is the use of the FISA court (FISC) for approving warrants for collecting foreign intelligence against “U.S. persons.”

Congress intended the FBI director’s 10-year term to have a two-fold purpose. First, it fostered greater independence at the FBI to prevent the Bureau from using its surveillance powers against political opponents of an incumbent president, as J. Edgar Hoover had done. Second, it protected the presidency from the FBI director.

The legislative history reflects an important constitutional point. As the Supreme Court ruled in Myers v. United States and Humphrey’s Executor v. United States, the Constitution bars Congress from removing executive power from the president. The president has the right and the unlimited authority to dismiss the FBI director if he so chooses. The Department of Justice and the FBI cannot be “walled off” from the direction of the elected executive because the Constitution says “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

Any good that might come from “walling off” the FBI and the Justice Department is subordinate to the principle of self-government which the Constitution embodies—one in which elected officers anointed by the political will of the electorate wield all political power. The independence of any part of the executive branch cannot be a check on the president; rather, it must be a means to fulfilling the president’s duties to faithfully execute his office.

The director’s 10-year term also served to insulate the president from someone who abuses his power. Hoover had done this for 50 years. Thanks to the 1976 reform, if a president lacked the nerve to fire an FBI director (as Lyndon Johnson had with Hoover), eventually the director’s term would expire.

James Comey clearly thought President Trump lacked the courage to fire him before his 10-year term was up. “Like it or not, you’re stuck with me,” he said.

Might Comey have believed this because he felt he had dirt on an elected president? The record suggests as much. As soon as Trump fired Comey, Comey leaked FBI property to Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman, who then disseminated confidential and privileged information to the New York Times to damage the president. Contrary to Schiff’s assertions, what Trump did in dismissing Comey furthered the purposes of both the Constitution and the 1976 Crime Control Act by asserting control over a rogue FBI director.

FISC is the second 1976 reform spotlighted in this crisis. Until the 1976 reform, the Supreme Court had done little to enforce the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in the context of foreign intelligence gathering. Because this practice—which allowed the executive to surveil without a warrant in connection with foreign intelligence—had been abused, Congress defined the constitutional limits of this power. Congress established FISC, and required the surveillance of American citizens or legal permanent residents in connection with foreign intelligence to be made by application to the special court for a warrant, which must be renewed every 90 days.

At issue is the abuse of this process. The Nunes memo sets forth certain facts. The gist is that the Justice Department and the FBI used a partisan opposition research document for a FISA warrant application without disclosing to the court its partisan character. Material non-disclosure is an end run around the warrant requirement of the 1976 reform.

In popular opinion, the Fourth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination are every day policing concerns. Can police search a glove box for drugs without a warrant or permission? Did police read a suspect her Miranda rights? These are protections against constabulary abuses. As serious as these issues are, the purpose of the constitution’s protections is far more grave. It is to protect against political abuses of criminal justice.

The FISA surveillance is connected to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has produced two indictments and plea deals against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos based on self-incrimination, and another indictment based in part on a pre-dawn, no-knock raid at the home of a 68-year old man, which uncovered crimes unrelated to the scope of the investigation. You don’t need to be a card-carrying member of the ACLU to see the implications on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments here.

Whether this is technically legal remains to be seen. It is positively un-American. But this is what Adam Schiff wants for his country, and therefore I don’t trust him. Neither should you.

About Jay Whig

J. Whig is an attorney practicing in New York and a resident of Connecticut specializing in insolvency and restructuring. Opinions are his own.

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28 responses to “Trust No One, Especially Adam Schiff

    • In his mind and his lefty California world, he’s probably not lying. He’s just stupid.

      • I live in Schiff’s lefty California world (I’m a conservative stranger in a strange, strange land) and not only do California’s rabid progressives think Adam Schiff’s word is absolute truth, they think he’s brilliant. He is revered here. It’s hard to believe that politicians like Schiff come from the same state as Devin Nunes and Kevin McCarthy.

  • He’s called Schiff for Brains for a reason. His kids are the Little Schiffs

  • The Democrats and the Media are in full cover-up, obfuscate mode. They are already leaking the details of the Democrat rebuttal memo (which is a crime) and have raised the parsing of obscure phrases to a fine art. The more they scream, the more it is evident that the House and Senate Intel Committees are getting closer to the truth.

    One thing that strikes me as hilariously funny is that the Democrats are charging the Republicans as attacking Law and Order. The Republicans have have been clear they respect the rank and file of DOJ/FBI and are strictly targeting the partisan upper echelons of the agencies. Republicans and conservatives alike have long defended law enforcement. The Democrats, on a daily basis, attack the rank and file of law enforcement as racist murderers, while vehemently defending the upper echelons. It is certainly a topsy-turvy position to defend.

    One thing the left has avoided is a recitation of a fact chain. To do so would be to admit that there is a there, there. Instead they resort to name calling and silly recitations that a footnote explaining that part of a FISA Application from a “political” source represents full disclosure is beyond nonsense.

    One thing I have wondered is where is the FISA judge in all of this? Is he or she paying attention to the news? Is he or she upset at all at being set up to approve a warrant based on biased and faulty information? Does that judge have the ability to issue a bench warrant to call those that submitted the application for the FISA warrant before the court to explain the DOJ/FBI submissions? Moreover, does the court have the ability to bring charges for fraudulent actions on the part of the DOJ? No one that I’ve seen is asking these questions–at least in the public square. Oh, I’ve seen talking heads speculate on the judges feelings on this, but I haven’t seen or heard anyone with a legal background addressing the questions I’ve raised. I don’t know about you, but I certainly would like to know.

    • Makes me wonder if the FISA judge wasn’t in on the fix, too. Crickets. Why?

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      • I think it’s safe to assume that any Obama appointees had blackmail dirt under their fingernails to keep them in a perpetual state of strict compliance with the plan. Also, during File Gate when HRC procured all the W/H FBI background investigations she created a fear baseline that is just now being exposed.

    • 0.03% of FISA requests have been denied since the courts inception. First Page FISA request approved 10/22/16. 1/10/17 BuzzFeed released the dirty dossier and it was in the news since then. 1/22/17, 4/22/17, 7/22/17 FISA renewals were approved. The FISA Judges never heard about the Steele dossier or asked the appropriate questions about it in all that time? Something is not quite right with these secret courts.

  • Perhaps Mr. Whig would like to explain why there are no records of him practicing law in either NY or CT? Neither bar association has him on record, nor is he listed with NY courts. Additionally, there are no pleadings authored under his name.

    Who are you, other than a blogger?

    • Perhaps morons who are so ignorant of history to be incapable of recognizing an obvious pseudonym should refrain from commenting.

      • Shhh! Pointing out the obvious only makes them more unhinged.

    • What information would you cite that Page was under investigation. At one point, Page was working with the FBI as a result of spontaneous contacts by persons presenting themselves as Russian operatives and seeking to have them work for them. This contact from ‘Russian operatives’ would have made him eligible for counter-intelligence surveillance, but his cooperation with the FBI on the matter would have made any ‘investigation’ one in which he was an informant not a ‘target’. Furthermore, the FISA warrant was under Title I of the FISA, not Title III which means the ‘target’ of the warrant is considered a spy. Carter Page’s cooperation with the FBI in identifying Russian operatives strongly suggests that he is not a ‘spy’ and nothing in his subsequent actions suggests otherwise.

    • Interesting analysis I suppose that gives those in authority the legal right not to disclose the pedigree of a dossier they required a warrant to follow up on… in a standard police state. The misleading isn’t coming from Nunes but from you. It makes NO difference whether Page was in the process or had already been investigated. How convenient of you to skip over the lie. “Well it’s okay because Page was already being investigated.” I wonder if you’d feel the same way if YOU were being investigated!

    • DL = Democrat Licker….. Just one of the DNC’s brain drained Gruber voters. He can vote but has no independent thought of his own.

  • Trust no one, especially the author of Pro Russian Propaganda/BS.

    • The DNC is running a special on Russian Propaganda BS detectors. Buy one for just $19.99 +S&H and get a second one free just by paying add’l S&H. They are small enough to fit under your bed. Act soon as offer will expire and please include a healthy $ donation to the DNC with your order – they need the money…

      • See how the RWM jump from one alert to another bombshell. None of that BS sticks so they give the Emperor a golden shovel, to dig deeper, They they soak you for 20 bucks, none of them drive a ’91 ford. “Our home office” thinks people are a resource, not marks or targets.

  • It’s now impossible for the Democrats to deny there WAS COLLUSION implemented to corrupt the Presidential election, and it was the HITLERy campaign colluding with the British and Russians to fabricate as much malicious scandal as their money could buy.
    AND, THEY STILL LOST!!! And continue the losing streak.
    Just imagine the chaos Our government would be in if they HAD won?
    Has Hollywood ever made a movie where someone had the entire world on a leash, and lost control of it?
    The Democrats continue to create rabid animals from peaceful mortals, that come back to wreak havoc on them.
    They emulate their Party’s icon every day.

  • AS is evil. $ SA$ pedo Standard Hotel Hollyweird. hotels fit well with trafficg and sexxx. 7.5million for 1 soul

  • This clown actually thinks he is setting himself up to run for president in 2020. I can only wait!

  • Schiff is a liar and has committed sedition and treason. He needs to be hanged by the neck from a DC lamp post.

  • I trust Senator Adam Shifty, he has an honest look in his eyes.

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