The “Impeachment Inquiry” Double-Triple Hearsay Creates More Problems

As the impeachment inquiry continues, there have been some stories you may have missed that are worth noting.  One of them is that Chairman Adam Schiff's (D-CA) impeachment inquiry is hurting allegedly innocent targets.

The danger of the multiple hearsay testimony that Adam Schiff is employing became apparent today from an unlikely source.  Kash Patel, an official on the National Security Council, is suing Politico for defamation, and accusing the news outlet of colluding with Rep. Adam Schiff.  As the Daily Caller reports:

A National Security Council official who has long been a target of Democrats is accusing Rep. Adam Schiff of colluding with Politico to publish what he said is a false story about his contacts with President Donald Trump, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

“Defendants’ reporting was categorically and knowingly false,” Patel stated in the lawsuit, which was filed against Politico and its owner, Robert Allbritton.

“Defendants intentionally employed a scheme or artifice to defame Kash with the intent to undermine the President’s confidence in Kash and to further Schiff’s impeachment inquisition,” Patel stated in the lawsuit, which was first reported by Fox News.

The facts known at this point seem to support Mr. Patel. Patel may have been targeted because he wrote the “Nunes Memo” which accused the FBI of withholding information about Christopher Steele in its FISA application.  Further,  Ukraine was not in his portfolio.  It came out in testimony the link between him and Ukraine was a seemingly casual hearsay comment.  Fiona Hill, former deputy assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council staff, brought Kash Patel into the inquiry as follows:

Hill said she came to suspect Patel might be meeting with Trump about Ukraine after having a [chance] encounter with someone at the White House’s Executive Secretariat. Hill, who left the White House in July, said someone in the office of the Executive Secretariat said Trump wanted to meet with the director of Ukraine policy.

The staffer then said, “Yeah, so, I mean, we might be reaching out to Kash,” Hill testified.

She did not see Patel hand over documents, talk to the President on Ukraine, or anything similar.  Even worse, another witness, Lt. Col Alexander Vindman repeated the claim on Patel based on what Hill had heard for triple hearsay. 

More details are in this article on Fox.  Whether or not there is enough for defamation, one thing is for sure: as Hans von Spakovsky notes this sort of double-triple hearsay testimony is better fit for a song ("I heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend,") than any kind of legal proceeding.  But as Mr. Patel’s lawsuit alleges, it is not just political damage that can result but damage to peoples' careers.