Rep. Adam Schiff is accusing Attorney General William Barr of lying with his claim that China poses a bigger threat to the U.S. elections this year than Russia. “That’s just a plain, false statement by the Attorney General. A flat-out false statement,” Schiff told CNN. “What Bill Barr just did in that statement was just flat out mislead the American people with a blatantly false statement.”
The chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee was responding to a clip of Barr referring to U.S. intelligence finding that Russia, China, and Iran are seeking to interfere in the 2020 elections. Barr was asked which country was pursuing the efforts most aggressively and Barr said China, citing intelligence that he said he could not reveal. “I’ve seen the intelligence,” Barr said. “That’s what I’ve concluded.”
Schiff pushed back and said that what Barr said wasn’t true, characterizing it as another example of why the Trump administration official can’t be trusted. “It’s just such a disservice to the country that we can’t trust our own attorney general,” Schiff said. “But apparently Bill Barr is willing to do anything or say anything to help Donald Trump.” Asked if Barr was lying, Schiff said: “That is basically what he is doing. And I hesitate to say that, but it is the reality.” The Democratic lawmaker then said it outright. Schiff noted the intelligence is clear that while Russia is actively engaging to interfere in the election China has a “preference” and that means “you can tell that Bill Barr is just flat-out lying to the American people, and it’s tragic but it’s as simple as that.”
Barr is hardly the only one in the administration pushing the China message. National security adviser Robert O’Brien said on Friday that China is the country that has taken the most active role in trying to interfere in the November election. “We know the Chinese have taken the most active role,” O’Brien told reporters.