A new series of unredacted text messages show House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Ca.) may have mischaracterized an exchange between Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas, according to a Politico report.
The story began when Schiff sent over a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-Ny.) that laid out the revelations from new evidence turned over to Congress. In it, Schiff summarized a series of text messages between Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, and Parnas, an indicted business associate of Giuliani’s. Schiff said that Parnas “continued to try to arrange a meeting with President Zelensky” and used a specific text message to support that claim.
The text, from Parnas to Giuliani, says “trying to get us mr Z.” But the remainder of the text messages were redacted.
On Wednesday, though, Politico is reporting that unredacted versions of the text messages show Parnas was referring to Mykola Zlochevsy, the founder of Burisma, not Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. Those text messages show Parnas sending a document to Giuliani with notes where he interviewed Zlochevsky, and he again refers to Zlochevsy as “Mr. Z.”
Schiff’s sham impeachment is littered with mischaracterizations, falsehoods, & political desperation.— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) January 22, 2020
The more Schiff speaks to the American people, the more the support for impeachment is obliterated in the court of public opinion.
While these texts do not undercut Democrats’ central claim — that President Donald Trump used his power to try and pressure Ukraine into investigating the Biden family — they will surely be used by Republicans to paint Schiff as a dishonest actor. For months, Republicans in the House and Senate have claimed Schiff was acting dishonestly during the impeachment inquiry, with Trump even dubbing him “shifty Schiff.”
A Democratic official working on the impeachment inquiry told Politico that the text messages and the revelations about them do little to impact the overall narrative. In fact, the official said, Parnas and Giuliani reaching out to Zlochevsky only further shows the effort they went to in order to find dirt on Joe Biden, whose son was working on the board of Burisma.
“Beginning with Mr. Giuliani’s May 10 letter to President Zelensky two months earlier and leading up to Mr. Giuliani’s August 2 meeting with Mr. Zelensky’s representatives in Spain, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Parnas actively sought high-level engagement with President Zelensky and his administration to carry out the President’s corrupt scheme,” the official told Politico. “If Mr. Giuliani sought out dirt from other sources, that would be consistent with their overall effort.”