Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was pranked last year by Russian comedians who offered nude photos of President Trump.
Schiff thought he had been speaking with Ukrainian politician Andriy Parubiy, who offered potentially explosive information about Trump’s visit to Russia during the Miss Universe pageant in 2013, The Atlantic reported.
Schiff cautioned the man that “our Russian friends” could be eavesdropping on the call, and told him not to share anything he wouldn’t want them to hear.
But the man went on to say that the Russians had “pictures of naked Trump” and Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted Trump to know that “all those compromising materials will never be released if Trump will cancel all Russian sanctions.”
Schiff then told the man that his office would work with FBI to figure out “how we can obtain copies.”
The California Democrat, however, had actually been speaking with Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, two Russian pranksters known as Vovan and Lexus.
Schiff’s office claims it suspected the April 2017 call was fake and contacted the appropriate authorities.
“Before agreeing to take the call, and immediately following it, the committee informed appropriate law-enforcement and security personnel of the conversation, and of our belief that it was probably bogus,” a spokesman for Schiff told The Atlantic.
The Daily Mail reported Tuesday that a member of Schiff’s staff continued correspondence with the pranksters via email, seeking the damaging material on Trump.
The pranksters said they would transfer the material to Schiff through the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C.
As part of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff has been investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
He became a target of Trump’s on Monday when the president sent a tweet accusing the Democrat of being “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington.”
The Russian pranksters told the Daily Mail it took about 30 minutes to get Schiff on the phone after they called his office pretending to be Parubiy.