President Donald Trump kicked off the week by asserting that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is only going to release “doctored transcripts,” which is just another way of calling them fake. It didn’t stop there, though, as the president suggested these transcripts are not available for public viewing (plot twist: they are).
House Democrats have already released testimony from key witnesses like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill, George Kent, Bill Taylor, and Gordon Sondland. All of that is public, and there haven’t been complaints from Republicans about “doctoring” of transcripts.
In advance of the release of the transcripts, Trump claimed Schiff *would* doctor them.
Now he's just saying the same thing even though transcripts have been released and there's no hint of doctoring. pic.twitter.com/FmyzclnCjP
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 11, 2019
And one would think that the witnesses themselves would say something if there were glaring inaccuracies, but they haven’t. That didn’t stop the president from saying this anyway:
Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts. We haven’t even seen the documents and are restricted from (get this) having a lawyer. Republicans should put out their own transcripts! Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019
“Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts. We haven’t even seen the documents and are restricted from (get this) having a lawyer,” he began.
It’s true that the president’s lawyers are not going to be involved at this stage of the impeachment proceedings in the House, but if this heads to the Senate and there’s an actual trial that’s going to change.
“Republicans should put out their own transcripts! Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!” Trump continued, once again referring to Schiff’s detrimental parody of his words as contained in the memo of the July 25 Trump-Volodymyr Zelensky call. Notably, however, we have also reached the stage where the President of the United States is actively encouraging Republicans to produce alternative transcripts.
It didn’t take long for sharp criticism to flow, much of it from the usual suspects.
“Only a sociopath” would say such things…
Only a sociopath would make this assertion. This sociopath is president of the United States. https://t.co/JysuM1U4sr
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) November 11, 2019
Area President who won't let NSC lawyer testify about how the word "Burisma" got removed from his so-called transcript accuses others of doctoring transcripts. https://t.co/V2hmI1bMOZ
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) November 11, 2019
Here’s how transcripts of testimony actually work:
Witnesses review & have to formally sign off on the accuracy of their testimony before transcripts are released. @BarbMcQuade & I did this when we testified in the House on the Mueller Report last summer. Every witness gets to do it. Trump is just making this up. Don't be fooled. https://t.co/tHNtEBediQ
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 11, 2019
Witnesses review the transcripts and sign-off on their accuracy before they are released. Your paranoia and blatant lies only serve to illustrate how unfit for office you truly are… https://t.co/IBycTpvSC7
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) November 11, 2019
Not a single Republican has claimed the transcripts (which have been reviewed by witness lawyers and publicly released) are inaccurate or incomplete. https://t.co/PdDHFmv3pZ
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) November 11, 2019
Importantly, Republicans haven’t denied the accuracy of the transcripts the president is now calling “doctored.”
Haven't seen a single Republican in the room deny the accuracy of these transcripts https://t.co/hTAc94mBs1
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) November 11, 2019
[Image Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.