The parade of conservative guest hosts auditioning to replace Meghan McCain continued this week on The View. And this time, yet another former Trump administration official took her turn, trying and failing to score gotcha points against the show’s guest, in this case Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).
Schiff, who was there to promote his new book Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could, fielding primarily friendly questions from the show’s four left-leaning co-hosts before Morgan Ortagus, former spokesperson for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a one-time contributor to Fox News, jumped in to speak from an alternate reality.
“I want to ask you about something that’s in the news a lot right now,” Ortagus said. But instead of focusing on the issues currently facing D.C., Ortagus decided to try to grill Schiff about his role in “promoting” the Steele dossier. “We know, last week, the main source was indicted for lying about most of the key claims in that dossier,” she said. “Do you have any reflections on your role in promoting this to the American people?”
“Well, first of all, whoever lied to the FBI or lied to Christopher Steele should be prosecuted, and they are,” Schiff began. “And unlike in the Trump administration, if they’re convicted, they should go to jail and not be pardoned.” He went on to say that “we couldn’t have known” that people were “lying” to Christopher Steele so it was “proper to investigate” the claims that Trump was compromised by the Russians.
“And let’s not forget what we learned in that investigation,” he continued. “We learned that the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was giving internal polling data, campaign polling data to Russian intelligence while Russian intelligence was helping the Trump campaign.”
Ortagus then accused Schiff of helping to “spread disinformation” about Trump. “That’s what Republicans and what people who entrusted you as the Intel Committee chair are so confused about your culpability in all of this,” she said.
“Well, I completely disagree with the premise,” Schiff shot back. “It’s one thing to say that allegations should be investigated, and they were; it’s another to say that we should have foreseen in advance that some people were lying to Christopher Steele, which is impossible, of course, to do. But let’s not use that as a smoke screen to somehow shield Donald Trump's culpability for inviting Russia to help him in the election, which they did, for trying to coerce Ukraine into helping him in the next election, which he did, into inciting an insurrection, which he did. None of that is undercut, none of that serious misconduct is in any way diminished by the fact that people lied to Christopher Steele.”
“No, I think just your credibility is,” Ortagus responded, attempting to score an applause line that fell flat.
“Well, I think the credibility to question is in doubt,” Schiff said to loud cheers from The View audience before co-host Sunny Hostin cut in to ask him about Ortagus’ former colleagues who may have collaborated with the Capitol rioters.