When it became apparent that the Democrats were going to take back the House in 2018, attention quickly turned to the people poised to take over the committees in position to make life miserable for Donald Trump. Among them was Adam Schiff of California, who is now chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. A few weeks before the election, Schiff vowed that if he got the gavel, the Intelligence Committee was going to take a long-overdue look at Trump’s business dealings.
It should come as no surprise that as one of Trump’s biggest gadflies, Schiff has become one of the favorite whipping boys for Trump and his minions. For instance, Lance Wallnau openly hoped that Trump could disappear Schiff and his other foes, which is SOP for dealing with dissent in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Trump himself has wailed about Schiff leading a campaign of “presidential harassment.” Trump even went as far as to call him “Little Adam Schitt” rather than “Little Adam Schiff”–a move that even Breitbart said was deliberate.
This was to be expected, considering that it’s more or less an article of faith in Trumpland that the Democrats are willing to do anything to stop Trump from making America great again. But one particularly rabid covfefe drinker crossed a very bright line. He actually accused Schiff of being a pedophile–and crassly admitted he was doing so despite having zero evidence to back it up.
The last few years have seen a mushrooming of podcasters who are hard right and rabidly pro-Trump. One of the most rabid of all is Chris McDonald, a religious right podcaster who hosts the “McFiles” podcast from his home in Morristown, Tennessee. How rabid is he? He believes that we shouldn’t call out Trump for his outrages, but merely pray for him. He is also of the mind that those who oppose Trump also oppose the Almighty. For example, he once suggested that God would smite Omarosa for turning against Trump.
But McDonald may have really outdone himself on Wednesday night’s edition of one of his special podcasts, “McJustice”–which is viewable on Periscope and on YouTube. While taking potshots at Schiff, he falsely smeared Schiff as a pedophile. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
While chatting with co-host Shari Wassell at around the 24:50 mark of the broadcast, McDonald called Schiff “the most dirtiest congressman in freaking Congress, short of Nancy Pelosi.” It initially appeared that this was going to be a garden-variety Trumpkin tirade when McDonald wondered if Schiff was related to George Soros or Pelosi. Whatever the case, McDonald said that he was so repelled by this “crooked SOB” that “when he talks, I swear I just want to vomit.”
But just seconds later, while recalling how Wassell asked about a possible House probe into Schiff’s doings, McDonald really went off the deep end.
He’s dirty. I’ve heard rumors that he’s not only dirty, but he’s a pedophile. But he’s not only a pedophile, I’ve heard that he settled a case with a minor, or somebody—a sexual abuse thing—many years back and that’s been sort of shoved under the rug.
What extraordinary evidence does McDonald offer for this outrageous and extraordinary claim? Nada, nothing, zip, bupkis. And in the same breath that he uncorked this smear, McDonald said with a straight face that he wasn’t trying to “impugn character” or “accuse him (Schiff) of anything.” But then he preceded to impugn Schiff’s character again by saying that “he’s creepy as hell and I don’t like him.”
And just in case he didn’t make himself clear, McDonald googled down–while trolling Right Wing Watch for good measure.
So Right Wing Watch, write that up, that Chris McDonald is accusing Adam Schiff of being a pedophile because I don’t like him. I can see the headline right now.
If there is any justice at all, McDonald should have bigger worries than Right Wing Watch turning the hot lights on him–though as you can see, they certainly obliged. This was the very definition of libel with reckless disregard for truth or falsity. On the face of it, this is a lawsuit waiting to happen, if Schiff is so inclined. Indeed, given that McDonald openly admits he has no evidence whatsoever to support this outrageous smear, the only question would be how many zeroes would be in the damage award.
It’s easy to dismiss this as the rantings of a very deplorable troll. But this is far more serious than that. There are at least two, and possibly three, documented cases of violence related to Pizzagate and its bastard child, QAnon–the loony conspiracy theory that claims nearly everyone who is everyone in the Democratic Party and in Hollywood is involved in sex trafficking.
One so-called protector of children barged into Comet Ping Pong, the Washington pizzeria at the supposed center of this ring, to “self-investigate” things. Another called a nearby restaurant and threatened to riddle it with bullets after rescuing the kids. And just this past January, someone tried to set fire to Comet Ping Pong.
Simply put, it is literally impossible to overstate how dangerous McDonald’s smear was. The fact that he would baselessly accuse someone of pedophilia is bad enough, but accusing an elected official of this, and admitting he is doing so with no evidence, is outrageous. If we see a headline or an alert on our phones saying “Adam Schiff attacked and beaten, attacker accused him of pedophilia,” we should all hold McDonald responsible–and hope he gets sued into poverty.
But there is something that can be done right away. Report the Periscope and YouTube versions of McDonald’s show, as well as the Twitter mirror. Depending on the timecode, McDonald’s smear happened between 25:59 and 26:01 of the stream. We have to send a message that you cannot baselessly accuse someone of pedophilia and get away with it.
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