Jan. 6 committee admits another blunder as Jordan rips Schiff for doctoring text messages

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and committee misrepresented exchange between Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at Jan. 6 hearing.
Image
Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.)
Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.)
Andrew Harnik-Pool / Getty Images

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Wednesday excoriated Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for doctoring his text messages after the Democrat-led congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol breach admitted to misrepresenting Jordan's communications.

This is the second time in less than a month that the Jan. 6 committee has acknowledged a major blunder for pushing a false narrative of events.

"It was doctored," Jordan told Just the News in his first public comments on the matter. "It was a text message that was forwarded on to Mark [Meadows]. This again shows how partisan, biased, and wrong this [Jan. 6] committee is. Who can trust anything they do? If they're willing to doctor a document and mislead the American people, who can trust anything they do?"

Jordan was referring to what transpired at a hearing of the Jan. 6 select committee on Monday night. Schiff claimed to have evidence showing Jordan on the eve of the Capitol breach pushing Meadows, who was serving as White House chief of staff at the time, to instruct then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

However, the text messages in question, which Just the News obtained, reveal that Schiff painted a distorted picture of the conversation.

At the hearing, Schiff said he wanted to display some of the messages that Meadows received from members of Congress, noting the committee isn't naming the lawmakers while its investigation is ongoing.

The California Democrat then displayed a graphic of one such message, which read, "On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all."

Schiff described the message as proof that some members of Congress were working with President Trump's White House to thwart the democratic process.

"You can see why this is so critical to ask Mr. Meadows about," Schiff said. "About a lawmaker suggesting that the former vice president simply throw out votes that he unilaterally deems unconstitutional in order to overturn a presidential election and subvert the will of the American people."

The actual text message that Schiff claimed to display tells a different story, however.

The original text was written not by Jordan but, rather, by Joseph Schmitz, an attorney and a former inspector general for the Department of Defense. Schmitz sent the message to Jordan, who in turn forwarded it to Meadows.

Here is what Schmitz wrote in full:

"Good luck tomorrow!

On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all the electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence.

'No legislative act,' wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, 'contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.' The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: 'That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.' 226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916).

Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all."

Schmitz attached to his text a four-page draft document detailing his legal reasoning for arguing Pence had constitutional standing to object to the certification of electoral votes submitted by some states.

Schiff failed to note that the original text message was written by an attorney rather than any lawmaker or that Jordan relayed the information to Meadows without any additional comment.

The graphic displayed by Schiff didn't include most of the original message, omitting the last two paragraphs. The graphic also altered punctuation, causing the message to come off as a terse directive from a lawmaker rather than a legal argument from a lawyer.

A spokesperson for the Jan. 6 committee acknowledged the error.

"The Select Committee on Monday created and provided Representative Schiff a graphic to use during the business meeting quoting from a text message from 'a lawmaker' to Mr. Meadows," the spokesperson told Just the News. "In the graphic, the period at the end of that sentence was added inadvertently. The Select Committee is responsible for and regrets the error."

The spokesperson then pasted the text of the full message, noting that the committee is doing so "in the interests of transparency."

The Federalist was the first to report on Schiff doctoring the text messages. Sources familiar with the matter and who communicate regularly with Jordan also told the Federalist that the congressman is always quite brief when he texts and would never send an in-depth, multi-paragraph message via text.

This is not the first time that the Jan. 6 committee has owned up to a blunder.

Just last month, the committee acknowledged it made an error in a subpoena that falsely accused former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik of attending a secret meeting in Washington allegedly to discuss overturning the results of the 2020 election on behalf of then-President Trump. The admission followed a Just the News investigation, which found that Kerik could not have attended the meeting in Washington on Jan. 5, as alleged in the subpoena, because he was in New York City for a family emergency.

This is also not the first time that Schiff had come under fire for doctoring evidence to make his political opponents look bad. During the 2019 impeachment proceedings against President Trump, for example, Schiff misrepresented the contents of a telephone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Schiff also lied about his communications with a so-called whistleblower, who leaked the phone call between Trump and Zelensky that House Democrats used to impeach Trump.

Schiff's office didn't respond to a request for comment for this story.