Schiff Says Carlson 'Carrying Water for Putin,' Then Tells Him Not to Resort to Personal Insults

December 7, 2016

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) accused Tucker Carlson of "carrying water" for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin on Wednesday night before telling the Fox News host not to resort to "personal insults."

Both men got into a heated debate while discussing the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia hacked into American political systems to influence the 2016 election and subsequent efforts by some in Congress, including Schiff, to push back against Moscow for the cyber breaches. Carlson challenged Schiff on his certainty that Russia was behind the hacks, saying it is possible that other actors may be responsible–an argument that President-elect Donald Trump has maintained.

"I think Ronald Reagan would be rolling over in his grave that you are carrying water for the Kremlin," Schiff said to Carlson.

"I'm not carrying water for the Kremlin," Carlson responded. "Look, you are a sitting member of Congress on the [House Intelligence Committee] and you can't say they hacked."

Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, took it a step further, saying that Carlson's show should be moved to RT, a news network funded by the Russian government that critics have accused of being a propaganda tool of the Kremlin.

"You're going to have to move your show to RT, Russian television, because–" Schiff began before Carlson told the lawmaker that the comment was beneath him.

"You know what?" Carlson asked. "That's so beneath your office because it's so dumb, and you are being duplicitous. I'm asking you did they hack [John] Podesta's emails and you can't say it."

Schiff had suggested earlier that the Russians hacked into the email account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, during the election. Carlson was trying to get Schiff to definitively say whether the Russian government was behind the Podesta hacking, but Schiff appeared to dodge the question multiple times throughout the interview.

After criticizing Carlson, the California lawmaker said that he should not "resort to personal insults."

"You can't resort to personal insults," Schiff said.

Carlson laughed and reminded Schiff about the comment he just made about carrying water for Russia.

"You said I was carrying water for Putin," Carlson said. "That's pretty hilarious."

"You know, when you essentially are an apologist for the Kremlin, that's what you are doing," Schiff said.