May 16, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Schiff calls WH's Russia response a "non-denial denial"

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Ranking Member of the House Intel Committee Adam Schiff said "the denials from the administration" about Trump's disclosure of highly classified information to Russian officials "are really a form of non-denial denial," during an interview with NYT's David Sanger at the Center for American Progress' Ideas Conference Tuesday.

What they're not saying: Schiff added the administration's statements that "the president did not discuss war plans is a bit of a non sequitur, and saying he did not discuss sources and methods is a bit of ruse," since that's not what the report was about.

"What we are engaged in is a new war of ideas, it's not communism versus capitalism, it is autocracy and authoritarianism versus democratic forms of government," said Schiff.

What this means: Schiff warned Russians could "reverse engineer" what they learned from Trump to determine the source of the information is. Schiff said that means:

  • The source could dry up (and if the source is a human it's even more dangerous)
  • The country that shared that intel with the U.S. "could decide it can't trust the U.S. with information"
  • "Or worse, it can't trust the President with information," which gets even more dangerous "particularly if we're talking about a threat posed to Americans by ISIS," which is what the reports allege

He's right: Already we have seen European countries questioning their relationship with the U.S.

The solution: Not much of a reassuring answer from Schiff — "I have to hope that someone will counsel the president what it means to protect...information."

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