Former Special Counsel John Durham fielded questions from Republican and Democrat lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, giving the American public their first glimpse of the career public servant in action.
Democrats attempted to portray Durham as an ultra MAGA hack who was doing the bidding of former President Trump, and did their best to defend the FBI’s conduct during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) spent much of his time insisting that there was still reason to believe that candidate Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. Later Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to censure the California Democrat over his RussiaGate conspiracy theories.
Durham expertly shut down Schiff’s line of questioning regarding Team Trump’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower during the campaign. Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner had met briefly with Natalia Veselnitskaya after she had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Schiff claimed the meeting constituted a crime.
“Are you aware, Mr. Durham, that [Robert] Mueller’s and Congressional investigations also revealed that Don Jr. was informed that a Russian official was offering the Trump campaign ‘very high-level and sensitive information” that would be incriminating of Hillary Clinton…?” Schiff asked.
“Sure, people get phone calls all the time from individuals who claim to have information like that,” Durham responded.
“Really? The son of a presidential candidate gets calls all the time from a foreign government offering dirt on their opponent. Is that what you’re saying?” Schiff replied.
“I don’t think this is unique in your experience,” Durham responded, eluding to a phone call Schiff took in April of 2017 in which he seemed eager to hear dirt about Trump. During the taped eight-minute phone conversation, two Russian radio hosts posing as a Ukrainian politician, told Schiff that they had “compromising materials” on the then-president.
The congressman asked “what’s the nature” of the material, and was told there were “pictures of naked Trump.”
Schiff ignored Durham’s embarrassing reference, and continued his line of questioning.
“So you have other instances of the Russian government offering dirt on a presidential candidate to the presidential candidate’s son. Is that what you’re saying?” Schiff continued.
Durham asked Schiff to repeat the question, and subsequently responded, “I’m saying that people can make phone calls making claims all the time. Of that, you may have experience.”
John Durham mocked the Inchworm right to his face!
Schiffless: Really the son of a presidential candidate gets called all the time from a foreign government offering dirt on their opponent?
Durham: I don't think this situation is unique in your experience. pic.twitter.com/VRofEIEplZ
— Chris Plante Show (@ChrisPlanteShow) June 21, 2023
“Are you really trying to diminish the significance of what happened here, and the secret meeting that the president’s son set up in Trump Tower receiving that incriminating information?” Schiff pressed.
“I’m not trying to diminish it at all, but I think the more complete story is that they met, it was a ruse, and they didn’t talk about Mrs. Clinton,” Durham stated. “I don’t think that was a well-advised thing to do.”
“Oh, not well advised. That’s the understatement of the year. So you think it’s perfectly appropriate, or maybe just ill-advised, for a presidential campaign to secretly meet with a Russian delegation to get dirt on their opponent?” Schiff asked.
“If you’re asking would I do it, I hope I wouldn’t do it. But it’s not illegal. It was stupid, foolish, ill-advised,” Durham replied.
“Well, it is illegal to conspire to get incriminating opposition research from a hostile government that is of financial value to a campaign. Wouldn’t that violate campaign laws?” Schiff asked.
“I don’t know all those facts to be true,” Durham concluded.
The House moved forward Wednesday afternoon with the process of censuring Schiff for his serial prevarications during the Trump-Russia investigation.
Republicans argue he deserves the public rebuke because he made “false accusations” against Trump throughout the investigation.
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) filed the resolution to “censure, condemn, and fine” Schiff for his “egregious abuse of trust” last month.
The resolution, if successful, could result in a $16 million fine imposed on the controversial Democrat from California, which is half the cost of the Russia hoax investigation.
Schiff survived a vote for censure one week ago because 20 Republicans voted with Democrats to table the resolution.
“I have called up my censure motion and will be bringing the vote to hold Adam Schiff accountable to the floor [Wednesday],” Rep. Luna announced on Twitter Tuesday night.
“I have spoken to many of my colleagues. A majority of the 20 will be changing their vote to support the motion, as well as other Members who were not in town for the initial vote have let me/my office know they will be voting with us,” Luna said.
“We have secured the number of votes needed to censure Adam Schiff and refer him to Ethics,” she added.
Luna and other GOP reps spoke on the House floor Wednesday afternoon in favor of the rebuke.
“Perhaps most unforgivable, Schiff ripped apart American families across the country with repeated false narratives. His own political good was served by permanently destroying family relationships and sowing lasting division across our land, which we live with every single day,” Luna said. “The perpetrator of this web of deceit became mainstays on cable news, waking up every morning with one goal: To lie, lie, lie to the American people that there was a direct evidence of Russia collusion.”
This is FL @RepLuna, the author of the Adam Schiff Censure bill
It’s her 1st term & she isn’t there to play nice
When her Schiff Censure bill died last week, she didn’t quit
She punched back & refiled
Sometime it takes a 34 y/o Veteran who is 7 months pregnant to fight for us pic.twitter.com/XjMMawAHiN
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) June 21, 2023
— Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (@RepLuna) June 21, 2023
— Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (@RepLuna) June 21, 2023
One of the most outrageous wastes of hard earned tax dollars has been the Russian collusion hoax, led by Adam Schiff.
Now he's raising money and running for Senate in California as a proven liar. pic.twitter.com/DX2cZyEEIT
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) June 21, 2023
Schiff took the barbs in stride and proclaimed himself to be a “truthteller.”
Self-proclaimed "truth teller."
— Congressman Troy E. Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) June 21, 2023
Schiff was censured Wednesday evening by a vote of 212-208 and he will now face an ethics investigation.
BREAKING: the United States House has voted to censure Adam Schiff a vote of 212-208.
In total 4 Republicans voted present and 6 didn’t vote at all. He is now to be censured and referred to the Committee of Ethics for a full investigation into him politically weaponizing his… pic.twitter.com/pVs6wm0l5A
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) June 21, 2023
🚨 BREAKING: The House has voted to censure Adam Schiff and he will now face an ethics investigation.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) June 21, 2023