LISTEN: This Recording of Schiff Thanking Pranksters for Info on Naked Trump Pics Must Never Be Forgotten
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is one of the louder voices calling for an aggressive impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump for allegedly looking for dirt on his political adversaries from the president of Ukraine.
The truth of that claim remains to be seen, but when Schiff himself was offered dirt on Trump from what he thought was a Ukrainian politician, he jumped at the opportunity.
We know about this because the California Democrat wasn’t talking to a Ukrainian politician at all. While Schiff may have thought he was talking to Andriy Parubiy, the chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, he was in fact on the phone with Russian shock-jocks.
“The Russian radio hosts, Vladimir ‘Vovan’ Kuznetzov and Alexey ‘Lexus’ Stolyarov, who have close ties to the Kremlin, told Schiff that the Kremlin had naked photos of Trump and that ‘Parubiy’ could provide audio of [Russian journalist Ksenia] Sobchak and [Russian model and singer Olga] Buzova discussing the photos,” Fox News reported about the call.
“They also told Schiff that former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn had met with another Russian to talk about how to prevent the photos from going public.”
That all sounds ridiculous enough — but it somehow manages to get worse when you listen to the actual prank.
For one, Schiff claims that he knew this was all a prank call but turned the information over to the relevant authorities. The recording, however, doesn’t make it sound like he was convinced the call was a prank.
To start, the call had been put through to Schiff in the first place, something that would be unusual given that Schiff is a busy man with significant responsibilities. Beyond that, it’s curious how far he’s willing to go as the call devolves into silliness.
The prank begins with “Parubiy” discussing “compromising material” that came from Trump’s visit to Moscow as part of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.
“OK. And what’s the nature of the kompromat?” Schiff asks.
“Well, there were pictures of naked Trump,” one of the pranksters says.
The pictures allegedly involved the president with Olga Buzova, a Russian model and singer. Ksenia Sobchak, a journalist who’s also been referred to as Vladimir Putin’s “goddaughter,” had been caught on tape talking to Buzova, the men tell Schiff.
“OK. And so Putin was made aware of the availability of the compromising material?” Schiff responds.
“Yes, of course,” the prankster says. “Buzova shared those materials with Sobchak and Sobchak shares those materials with Putin because she’s goddaughter of Putin, and Putin decided to press on Trump.”
“So you have recordings of both Sobchak and Buzova where they’re discussing the compromising material on Mr. Trump?” Schiff asks.
And that’s when the call becomes thoroughly ridiculous.
“Absolutely, and we also know who was a mediator between Trump and Russian government who met with ex-advisor of Trump, Mr. Flynn,” the prank caller goes on. “It was Russian singer, very famous singer, Arkadiy Ukupnik, who met with Mr. Flynn on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn in special Russian cafe Langeron.”
After going back and forth a few times to try and determine the spelling of the cafe, Schiff asks what was discussed.
“They discussed many things,” the prankster says. “But the most interesting thing is they used a special password before their meetings. When they met each other they said ‘weather is good on Deribasivska.’”
“The weather is good in – where?” Schiff replies.
‘The weather is good on Deribasivska.’ There is the name of a street in Odessa. Did you hear?” the prankster says.
“Yes, I did. So it’s a street in Odessa?” Schiff continues. “And the code word is ‘weather is good on Zerabasta?’”
After the prank callers try to correct Schiff’s pronunciation again, he says that he would have staff follow up with the spellings. But things get more ludicrous from there: “And the second part of their password was, ‘it rains again on Brighton Beach,’” one of the pranksters tells Schiff.
“On that meeting, Ukupnik told Flynn that all those compromising materials will never released if Trump will cancel all Russian sanctions.”
“Well, obviously we would welcome the chance to get copies of those recordings. So we will try to work with the FBI to figure out along with your staff how we can obtain copies of those,” Schiff says.
The prank callers not only offer to do that, but they go above and beyond: “I also would like to let you know that Sobchak and Buzova will pretty soon visit our country and we could arrest them and deliver them to your embassy and we also could extradite them to your country and you can put them to your special jail Guantanamo.”
Oh, come on. Schiff somehow doesn’t hang up after that — which means we get more great quotes.
“I also advise you to check all Sobchak’s visits in the West because she was in the West very often and suggest you check what she did there actually. And I also would like to look at Russian cafe on Brighton Beach Langeron and especially on head of Russian Mafia Uncle Mischa,” one of the pranksters goes on.
“Uncle Mischa? He’s in Brighton Beach?” Schiff asks.
“Yes, he’s the head of Russian mafia. And he’s located on that restaurant on Brighton Beach,” the prankster answers.
And the pranksters’ final gem: “And I also would like to advise you when you or your colleagues will meet Mr. Trump, I advise you to tell him first part of the password, ‘the weather is good on Deribasivska,’ and look how his face will change the color.”
“And so those passwords were used with Mr. Trump?” Schiff says.
At the end of the recording, Schiff thanks the pranksters for their information.
“Well, thank you very much,” he says. “We will be back in touch with you through our staff to make arrangements to obtain these materials for our committee and for the FBI. And I appreciate your reaching out to us.”
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has had a fantastic time with the call.
“The first time I heard this, I said, ‘This is it for Schiff. He just been made a total fool of here. He’s just been made a total laughingstock,’” Limbaugh said on his show last week.
“But of course, our good friends in the media never saw fit to air this. Readers of The New York Times and The Washington Post and CNN don’t even know that this happened.
“He totally fell for it, just a hundred percent totally fell for it.”
“The staff called, tried to get the address, the names here. ‘Weather is good on Deribasovskaya.’ It took Pencil Neck three times to get the name,” Rush said, using the president’s nickname for Schiff. “He totally fell for it. He was willing to collude with these guys, thought Putin then had a naked photo of Trump that he was pressing Trump on.”
The call was absurd; Schiff should have hung up immediately. Again, he says he knew this was a prank call. Why, then, would he give the pranksters ammunition? His excuse doesn’t hold water. This was a guy who was perfectly willing to get dirt from the Ukrainians — even though the individuals providing it were ridiculous. As the equally ridiculous impeachment inquiry continues, we ought to make sure that this call is never forgotten.