The top Democrat investigating President Donald Trump has been outed for having a possibly illegal meeting with a key witness and keeping the clandestine association secret.
Trump on Feb. 8 spotlighted a recent report about Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) holding an undisclosed meeting with a key player and witness in the Russia-collusion scandal. The report, which had been ignored by the media at the time of its release, is now getting attention after Trump forced the media to acknowledge its existence.
Schiff, the Democrat now leading the Russia investigation, had the secret and undisclosed meeting with Glenn Simpson in July last year, according to The Hill. Simpson was a key witness before the House Intelligence Committee, where Schiff was the top Democrat.
“Now we find out that Adam Schiff was spending time together in Aspen with Glenn Simpson of GPS Fusion, who wrote the fake and discredited dossier, even though Simpson was testifying before Schiff,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Photographs taken at the Aspen Security Forum show Schiff meeting Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the company responsible for the infamous dossier of opposition research on President Donald Trump. The Clinton campaign paid for the dossier, which was compiled by a former British spy who used second- and third-hand sources with ties to the Kremlin. The report has since been determined to be wholly without fact and entirely fabricated.
Schiff was a speaker at the conference, which was attended by prominent U.S. national security figures, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, Director of National Security Dan Coats, and U.S. Army Secretary Mark Esper.
Simpson was at the time and remains a key witness in the Russia investigation. The dossier created by his firm became the core of the evidence used for a warrant the FBI used to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The bureau then followed the leads in the dossier in search of evidence of alleged collusion, finding none.
Representatives for both Schiff and Simpson said that the pair’s discussion included nothing of substance regarding the Russia case.
“In the summer of 2018, Mr. Simpson attended a media-sponsored social event where he exchanged small talk with Rep. Schiff and many other people who were in attendance,” Fusion GPS said in a statement to The Hill. “The conversation between the two was brief and did not cover anything substantive. There has been no subsequent contact between Mr. Simpson and Rep. Schiff.”
“The chairman did not have any pre-planned meeting with Glenn Simpson, and any conversation with him at the Aspen conference would have been brief and social in nature,” said Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland.
The undisclosed meeting is sure to draw scrutiny from the American public, especially since Schiff set a high standard for lawmaker conduct in 2017 by insisting that his colleague Rep. Devin Nunes, who chair the intelligence committee at the time, be investigated for holding undisclosed meetings with members of the National Security Council at the White House. Nunes temporarily recused himself from the Russia investigation as a result of Schiff’s demands.
Recent polls show that support for the investigation has collapsed with even a plurality of Democrats now saying that actions of Democrat leaders in Congress appear unfair and needless. Overall, Americans believe that, for the most part, the investigation should end to allow Congress and the President to address more urgent issues facing the nation.