Ortagus confronted Schiff directly on Tuesday over his role in promoting the discredited anti-Trump Steele dossier when she appeared as a guest co-host on “The View.”
Ortagus accused Schiff, who was on the show to promote a new book, of potentially helping to spread Russian disinformation through his promotion of the dossier and suggested his credibility had been diminished because of his actions.
“You defended, promoted and even read into the congressional record the Steele dossier. We know last week the main source of the dossier was indicted by the FBI for lying about most of the key claims in that dossier. Do you have any reflections on your role in promoting this to the American people?” Ortagus asked Schiff.
Schiff avoided directly answering the question, and instead called on “whoever lied” to former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele or the FBI to be prosecuted.
Ortagus then bluntly told Schiff his credibility has been diminished.
Roughly 24 hours later, Ortagus joined “America Reports” to discuss the viral on-air confrontation.
“I will say that in the moment, I’ll confess, my hands were shaking a little because I knew it was just incredibly important in that moment to be able to hold him accountable, not for the Republican Party but for everybody who wants to seek truth and justice,” Ortagus said, adding that Schiff was so “obsessed” with stopping former-President Trump that he took shortcuts and politicized the intelligence community.
“Morgan, I was trying to deconstruct that whole thing. Adam Schiff seemed to acknowledge that people were lying about it but that it didn’t diminish Donald Trump’s culpability in something that was a lie? I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it,” Fox News host John Roberts said after airing footage of the “View” exchange.
“There were a lot of issues being conflated by the congressman there, I think the big problem is that we always knew that this dossier, the media always knew, that it was unverified. Members of Congress knew this,” Ortagus responded.
“Adam Schiff, either being the ranking minority leader on the Intel Committee, now the Democrats are in charge he’s the chair of that committee, given his prestigious position in the Intelligence Committee, he is given extra special briefings, so to speak, that are different even than what other member of Congress get,” she said. “So he understands intelligence. He understands how all of this works.”
Ortagus said Schiff essentially “took a document totally unverified, that had not been vetted properly” and defended and promoted it.
“He read it into the congressional record,” she said.
Ortagus feels that media members took the dossier “hook, line and sinker” because of Schiff’s role on the Intelligence Committee.
“They thought, ‘Oh he’s got to have some sort of special access and information we don’t know about that proves that the dossier is true,” Ortagus said. “Well, now what have we learned … people are being indicted who were involved in this dossier. They’re being indicted for lying and it’s quite possible that this is just a Russian disinformation project, so it’s just sort of mind blowing.”
Igor Danchenko, the primary sub-source for the Steele dossier, was indicted last week as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.
Ortagus said that Trump was “accused of Russian disinformation for years, when actually Congressman Schiff did that for them.”
Fox News host Sandra Smith then recalled Schiff claiming “ample evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The America Reports” co-anchor asked Ortagus what the reaction to her grilling was.
“Rarely have we seen Adam Schiff put himself in the position to be questioned like you did,” Smith said.
“I just want to say thank you … to ‘The View’ and to the producers for allowing me to be on and giving me the opportunity,” Ortagus said. “I know it’s important for a lot of conservative women in America to be represented on that show, and I was … When I realized Adam Schiff was coming on, I thought, ‘My word, this is the opportunity that almost every journalist that I’m friends with wants.’”
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.