Trump mocks `little Adam Schiff' as House Democrats seek to counter GOP memo

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump accused a top Democratic lawmaker Monday of being "one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington," calling Rep. Adam Schiff of California "Little Adam Schiff" and accusing him of illegally leaking confidential information from the House Intelligence Committee.

In an early-morning tweet, Trump ominously said that Schiff "must be stopped," though he did not elaborate.

The president's insult came as Schiff is expected to call for a vote Monday afternoon for the Intelligence Committee to release a Democratic rebuttal to the classified memo that the panel's Republicans released Friday, which accuses federal law enforcement officials of abusing their powers to spy on a former Trump campaign official.

The Republican memo, written by congressional aides, fell short of providing enough evidence to make that case and was released after Trump rejected pleas from national security officials to block it.

In a separate tweet later in the morning, Trump praised Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who spearheaded the Republican memo as the Intelligence Committee chairman, calling him a "Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure."

Democrats have denounced the document as a tactic to undermine the investigation and protect Trump.

Schiff, who fought last week's release of that report, has described it as a misleading, inaccurate attempt to discredit the investigation of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. He has emerged as a visible nemesis of the president, appearing almost daily on television to discuss the various investigations of Trump.

"Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!," Trump tweeted, referring to James Comey, former FBI director; Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.; John O. Brennan, former CIA director; and James R. Clapper Jr., former director of national intelligence. "Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!"

Schiff responded via his own tweet, saying, "Mr. President, I see you've had a busy morning of `Executive Time.' Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or ... really anything else."

In another tweet over the weekend, Schiff mocked the president's claim of vindication, saying that the memo actually backs up claims that at least two of his advisers were colluding with the Russians. Schiff, who is 57 and has served in the House since 2001, has spoken of his desire to run for higher office. He is the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee.

The tweet came as the president continued to stew online about the investigation into Russia meddling into the 2016 presidential election and whether the president or the people around him obstructed justice in that investigation.

Over the weekend, Trump said that a classified memo released by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee "totally vindicates" him in that probe despite the fact that several Republican lawmakers have repeatedly said they do not believe the memo has any effect on the special counsel investigation.

Republicans on the committee voted against releasing the Democratic rebuttal memo last week at the same time they chose to initiate the release of their own 3 1/2-page document. But several of those Republicans, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan, have indicated that they now favor releasing the Democratic memo, as long as it has been scrubbed of sensitive national security information.

Democrats have said their 10-page memo corrects mischaracterizations by the Republicans and adds crucial context to actions by the FBI and the Justice Department in obtaining a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order to wiretap the former Trump aide, Carter Page.

An official said Sunday that the White House was open to releasing the Democratic memo pending an examination to protect intelligence sources and methods. The president declassified the Republican memo after a similar process, without redacting any information.

"Generally speaking, we're open to considering any document the House Intel Committee submits to us for declassification along the lines that the Nunes memo was considered," said a White House spokesman, Raj Shah.

The Democratic memo is said to contend that the FBI was more forthcoming with the surveillance court than Republicans had claimed. Republicans allege that the bureau did not disclose to the court that information from a former British spy, Christopher Steele, that was used in the warrant application had been partly financed by the Democratic National Committee and lawyers for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

People familiar with the document have said it also rebuts Republican claims that Andrew G. McCabe, deputy director of the FBI at the time, had told the Intelligence Committee late last year that the agency would not have sought a wiretap of Page without Steele's dossier of information.


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