It looks like House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff has been twisting the facts to suit his own narrative in his effort to remove President Donald Trump from office — a ploy that has now been exposed by newfound documents.
Schiff originally made his now-scrutinized claims in a Jan. 14 letter to House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler.
“Mr. Parnas continued to try to arrange a meeting with President Zelensky,” an enclosure from Schiff attached to the letter reads. “For example, on July 3, Mr. Parnas told Mr. Giuliani that he was traveling to Vienna. Mr. Giuliani responded, ‘Wow!’, and Mr. Parnas explained ‘trying to get us mr Z.’”
From the way Schiff paints this, it seems clear that Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, was working to open a back channel to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
This assertion would be a blow to Trump’s case, and give Democrats a reason to cheer.
But there is one minor detail that Schiff failed to explain regarding the exchange, much of which was redacted.
“Mr. Z” is probably not shorthand for “Zelensky.”
According to a bombshell report from Politico, “Mr. Z” almost certainly refers to Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder of Ukrainian energy giant Burisma Holdings.
An unredacted copy of Schiff’s document reportedly shows Parnas even messaged Giuliani after the apparent meeting with Zlochevsky, virtually confirming the oligarch as the mystery man by saying, “mr Z answers my brother.”
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Although a record of the meeting on Schiff’s document doesn’t include any names, the subject matter and conversation hint that the mysterious “Mr. Z” is the Ukrainian energy mogul and not the country’s president.
“A Democratic official working on the impeachment trial didn’t dispute the suggestion that the initial interpretation was incorrect,” Politico reported. “But the official maintains that ‘z’ was commonly used as short-hand for ‘Zelensky’ by those involved in the Ukraine pressure campaign, and noted that the word document does not reveal its author or source.
Of course, none of this is anything new from Adam Schiff.
The California Democrat has a long history of stretching or outright fabricating the truth during the impeachment process.
The representative infamously claimed his committee didn’t have any contact with the whistleblower who originally kicked off the entire impeachment circus. Fact-checkers quickly descended, and many slapped him with their harshest ratings for the lie.
Not everything has been an outright lie — some of Schiff’s gaffes can be attributed to sloppy and incomplete work.
One report pushed by the lawmaker included misleading labels on a phone record, claiming a call to a generic switchboard was something much more.
With how adamantly Democrats have been calling for the removal of Trump, it’s possible that the misidentification of “Mr. Z” was deliberate, but don’t ignore the possibility of pure incompetence.
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