Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said Sunday it would not have been appropriate for Democrats to get help from the Ukrainian government in the 2016 campaign, stressing that its efforts to help Hillary Clinton did not come close to Russia's on behalf of Donald Trump.
ABC host Jonathan Karl read from a January Politico article headlined, "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire" during his interview on "This Week" with Schiff.
The article detailed how Ukrainian government officials sought to help Clinton and sabotage Trump, and how a Ukranian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee "met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia."
The efforts helped force Manafort's resignation as campaign manager and reinforce the narrative of Trump connections to Russia, although the article stated Ukraine's efforts on behalf of Clinton were far less expansive than Russia's to boost Trump.
"I understand Hillary Clinton lost, and I understand this effort was not as elaborate as the Russian effort, but was it acceptable or would it have been acceptable for the Democrats to accept help from the Ukrainian government in this campaign?" Karl asked.
"No, it wouldn't be appropriate for the Democrats to accept help from the Ukrainian government," Schiff said. "But I think if you look at the Politico article … If you accept all the facts in the article, the scale of what the Russians did is not comparable to anything in that article."
Schiff said it would be comparable only if the Ukrainians stole Republican emails or had meetings with Chelsea Clinton and John Podesta, a reference to the meeting last year between Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign brass with a Russian lawyer who Trump Jr. thought had compromising information on Hillary Clinton.
"So the scale is different, acknowledge that, but this is problematic, this Ukrainian meeting is problematic in your eyes?" Karl asked.
"Well, it would be problematic to get any kind of support from a foreign government, but again, I think to compare the two is a bit like comparing a bank robbery with writing a check with insufficient funds," Schiff said. "Both appropriate money from the bank improperly, but a very different degree of seriousness and involvement in this case by a foreign government."