Adam Schiff Faces Backlash For Parodying Donald Trump's Ukraine Call During Congressional Hearing: 'What A Hack'

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California is taking heat from Republicans after he took some artistic license paraphrasing the transcript of President Donald Trump's call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaking in his role as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, Schiff attempted to parody the president's comments in the call during a hearing on the whistleblower's complaint that helped bring Trump's call with Zelensky—in which the U.S. leader appeared to ask the Ukranian president to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son—to light.

"This is the essence of what the president communicates," Schiff said: "We've been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what, I don't see much reciprocity here."

"I hear what you want. I have a favor I want from you, though and I'm gonna say this only seven times, so you better listen good," Schiff continued, parodying Trump. "I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it... on this and on that."

The Ukraine Call Transcript was so damning that Adam Schiff had to completely rewrite it and make up quotes that weren’t in it.

— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 26, 2019

"I'm gonna put you in touch with people and not just any people. I'm gonna put you in touch with the Attorney General of the United States...Bill Barr. He's got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him and I'm gonna put you in touch with Rudy. You're gonna love him, trust me," he said. "You know what I'm asking, so I'm only going to say this a few more times in a few more ways. And by the way, don't call me again; I'll call you when you've done what I asked."

Closing out his pastiche, Schiff said: "This is in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine."

While some muffled laughter could be heard throughout Schiff's speech, Republicans took to Twitter to condemn the parody. Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for Trump's 2020 campaign, hit out at the California representative for having "literally just made up his own transcript."

"Rather than reading from the actual transcript, he made up a new one," McEnany said. "What a HACK!"

In a separate statement, Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik said: "It is disturbing and outrageous that Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff opens up a hearing of this importance with improvised fake dialogue between President Trump and President Zelensky."

"We should focus on the facts," Stefanik said.

Journalist Stephen Hayes tweeted out in agreement, asserting that the "Trump/Zelensky phone call readout is bad on its face. And yet, Adam Schiff, not satisfied with the facts as they are, offers a summary that is a distortion designed to make it look worse."

Indeed, Schiff's parody did not provide a fully accurate picture of what Trump actually said in his call with Zelensky.

The exact comments that Schiff sought to paraphrase were the president's comments asking Zelensky "to do us a favor" and "find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike..."

The president did say that he would "like to have the Attorney General call you or your people," in addition to suggesting that the Ukranian president speak with lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Trump also suggested that the Ukranian leader investigate Biden and his son, saying: "The other thing, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."

Adam Schiff
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, responds to committee chairman Devin Nunes's comments earlier in the day about incidental collection of communications relating to U.S. President Donald Trump during the period of the presidential transition March 22, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Schiff is facing backlash for parodying Trump's call with Ukraine's president. Win McNamee/Getty