Politics

Trump Lashes Out, Alleges Schiff ‘Illegally’ Leaks Classified Info

President acknowledges morning ‘Fox & Friends’ habit after harsh SNL skit

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing the White House on Marine One in December. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 10:14 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam B. Schiff, tweeting the California Democrat is “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.”

The volley came three days after Schiff slammed Trump for releasing a memo compiled by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and his staff that alleged misconduct by senior law enforcement officials early in the Russia election meddling probe.

Schiff is “right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper,” the president tweeted. He was referring to the FBI director he fired (James Comey); the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (Mark Warner); President Barack Obama’s last CIA director, who defended the Russia probe on television over the weekend (John Brennan); and Obama’s final director of national intelligence, who also defended Justice Department leaders (James Clapper). 

Trump gave him a nickname, “Little Adam Schiff,” while alleging Schiff “leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information.” The president also wrote that Schiff is “desperate to run for higher office” and “Must be stopped!”

Schiff responded with his own tweet, calling Trump’s charge about leaking classified information “false” and imploring him to spend his mornings trying to strike legislative deals or doing “really anything else.”

Three hours after his tweet about Schiff, the president fired off another praising Nunes and predicting he eventually will be seen as a “Great American Hero for what he has exposed and what he has had to endure!”

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Democrats have criticized the memo compiled by Nunes and are pushing to release their own. By week’s end, Trump may have to decide whether to declassify a Schiff-crafted memo rebutting the GOP-crafted one made public last week.

Democratic members were quick to blast the commander in chief and defend Schiff. One, Rep. Karen Bass of California, was on CNN’s “New Day” program as the anti-Schiff tweet went live. The hosts read it to her on air and she called it an “embarrassment.”

House Intelligence member Eric Swalwell, also of California, responded by suggesting Trump’s view of Schiff stems from an exchange the ranking member had with Donald Trump Jr. during a classified hearing.

The memo wasn’t Trump’s only Twitter topic Monday. He started the morning by charging Democrats with supporting massive tax hikes to pay for a universal health care system, and then gave a shout out to a morning news program from which critics say he gets much of his information.

Democrats want to “greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care,” the president wrote in a tweet around 7 a.m. Trump contended Democratic members are “pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working.”

“No thanks!” he said about such a system in the United States.

The Guardian newspaper reported that “thousands of people” took to London’s streets Saturday “bearing placards with slogans including ‘more staff, more beds, more funds,’ and ‘Saving lives costs money, Saving money costs lives.’” They were there for a protest called “NHS in Crisis: Fix It Now.”

Trump often has criticized Democrats, especially in the Senate, for opting to oppose various GOP efforts to repeal and replace — or otherwise target — the Obama-era 2010 health care law. His tweet, however, comes as he will need some Senate Democrats to help him prevent a government shutdown at midnight Friday.

Meanwhile, the president also doubled down on his morning habit of watching the “Fox & Friends” morning show on the Fox News Channel. The program on the conservative-leaning news network often defends Trump when its competitors offer critical coverage.

Trump thanked the program for, in his view, “exposing the truth,” adding that perhaps that’s the reason its “ratings are soooo much better than your untruthful competition!”

The tweet followed a “Saturday Night Live” skit that featured the president, played by Alec Baldwin, reclining in bed and eating McDonald’s in his pajamas while calling into the Fox morning show.

“I’m saving the economy, destroying ISIS and right now I’m getting my daily intelligence briefing,” the fictional Trump said.

“Oh, from who?” asked Alex Moffat, playing “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy.

The faux president responded: “From you guys.”

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