The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee was the victim of a prank phone call by Russian comedians who offered to give him ‘compromising’ dirt on Donald Trump – including nude photos of the president and a Russian reality show star.
DailyMail.com can disclose that after the prank, his staff engaged in correspondence with what they thought was a Ukrainian politician to try to obtain the ‘classified’ material promised on the call.
On an audio recording of the prank call posted online, Adam Schiff can be heard discussing the committee’s Russia investigation and increasingly bizarre allegations about Trump with a man who claimed to be Andriy Parubiy, the chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament.
The call, made a year ago, was actually from two Russian comedians nicknamed ‘Vovan’ and ‘Lexus’ who have become notorious for their phony calls to high-ranking American officials and celebrities, including UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Elton John.
Its existence was first reported by The Atlantic but not how a staff member working for the minority on the House Intelligence Committee pursued the information after the call.
Schiff’s office said the congressman suspected the call was ‘bogus’ from the beginning and reported it to authorities afterward.
But in a recording of the eight minute conversation, Schiff appeared to take the call seriously – or at least played along convincingly – and emails from the Democrat’s staff to the fake politician afterwards said he had found it ‘productive’.
Schiff began the call by thanking the ‘chairman’ Andriy Parubiy for his time and warning him that Russian spies were likely listening in.
‘I would caution that our Russian friends may be listening to the conversation so I wouldn’t share anything over the phone that you wouldn’t want them to hear,’ said Schiff.
Vovan, who was posing as Parubiy, reassured Schiff: ‘I don’t think that will impact on our investigation.’
The fake Parubiy claimed the Ukrainian government had obtained recordings and documents that proved Vladimir Putin was blackmailing Trump with naked photos taken during an affair between the president and a Russian glamour model.
Vovan also claimed the Ukrainians recorded secret meetings between a Trump campaign aide and a famous Russian singer-turned-spy that took place at a non-existent mafia hangout in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Brighton Beach.
Schiff appeared to be taking notes on the conversation and repeatedly asked for spellings of names and documentation he could send to the FBI.
‘I’ll be in touch with the FBI about this. And we’ll make arrangements with your staff. I think it probably would be best to provide these materials both to our committee and to the FBI,’ said Schiff during the conversation, which lasted around eight minutes according to the recording posted to YouTube.
A spokesperson for Schiff confirmed he was on the call but claimed the congressman had suspicions that the caller might not be Parubiy and reported it to law enforcement last April.
‘Both before and after the call, we were aware that it was likely bogus and had already alerted appropriate law enforcement personnel, as well as after the call,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Obviously, it was bogus – which became even more evident during the call – but as with any investigation that is global in scale, we have to chase any number of leads, many of which turn out to be duds.’
The spokesperson declined to address on the record why a staff member pursued the ‘politician’ after the call if the congressman thought it was fake.
The FBI said it could not comment on whether it received or investigated any information about nude Trump photos or other alleged Russian ‘Kompromat’ from Schiff.
‘We do not disclose whether not a complaint has been received,’ an FBI spokesman told DailyMail.com. ‘We neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.’
Schiff and Trump have publicly feuded over the past week in the wake of a classified memo released by House Intelligence Committee Republicans, which alleged that the FBI used abusive tactics to obtain a surveillance warrant against a Trump campaign aide.
Schiff has been one of the most high profile Democrats in congress investigating allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials during the election.
Trump slammed Schiff on Twitter on Monday, calling the congressman ‘Little Adam Schiff’ and claiming he leaked classified information from closed hearings of the House Intelligence Committee.
‘Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!’ said Trump on Twitter. ‘Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!’
The congressman from California shot back that the president was spreading ‘false smears.’
‘[T]he American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or…really anything else,’ said Schiff on Twitter.
The comedians Vovan and Lexus – whose real names are Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov – drew international attention last year for their prank calls to Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Sen. John McCain.
The phone conversation with Schiff took place early last April as the House Intelligence Committee ramped up its investigation into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.
Vovan and Lexus told DailyMail.com that it took them just 30 minutes to get the congressman on the phone after calling his office pretending to be Parubiy.
‘[Schiff] was pretty serious. He wrote all what we said on the paper. Remembered all the details,’ said Lexus.
Lexus said the congressman’s aide also followed up with them by email after the call and asked them to send the materials to the Ukrainian embassy so that one of Schiff’s staffers could pick up the documents.
The comedians claimed they would transfer the documents to Schiff through the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly.
Lexus and Vovan provided emails to the DailyMail.com which appear to show Schiff’s staff discussing the documents after the call.
‘I understand Mr. Schiff had a productive call with Mr. Parubiy, and that Mr. Parubiy would like to make some material available to Mr. Schiff through your embassy,’ wrote Schiff aide Rheanne Wirkkala to the pranksters, according to the April 4, 2017 email.
‘Please let me know how best to arrange pick-up of those materials from your Embassy in Washington, D.C.,’ the email continued.
In another email on April 5, 2017, Schiff’s aide asked: ‘do you know when we might be able to meet your colleagues at the Ukrainian embassy here in Washington, DC to pick up materials?’
Schiff’s office did not respond to a request to confirm the emails.
During the call, the pranksters concocted an elaborate story about Trump having a tryst with a Russian glamour model named Olga Buzova after a Miss Universe pageant in 2013, which led to Vladimir Putin obtaining nude photos of the president.
Other individuals they claimed were involved in the scheme included a former Playboy model and Russian journalist named Ksenia Sobchak and Russian pop star Arkadiy Ukupnik.
Buzova ‘got compromising materials on Trump after their short relations,’ one of the pranksters told Schiff.
‘And what’s the nature of the Kompromat?’ asked Schiff.
‘Well, there were pictures of naked Trump,’ said the caller.
The pranksters told Schiff that Sobchak was a Russian secret agent and Putin’s goddaughter, and claimed she gave the Russian leader the compromising pictures of Trump to use as blackmail.
They also claimed the Russian government used pop star Ukupnik as a go-between to meet with former Trump aide Mike Flynn at a mafia-run restaurant in the Russian neighborhood of Brighton Beach, New York.
‘It was Russian singer, very famous singer, Arkadiy Ukupnik, who met with Mr. Flynn on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn in special Russian café Langeron,’ said the prankster.
‘And do you know what was discussed?’ asked Schiff.
The prankster said they ‘discussed many things’ and used passwords to recognize each other, including ‘It rains again on Brighton Beach’ and ‘The weather is good on Deribasivska.’
Schiff, seeming to have difficulty understanding Deribasivska, the name of a street in Odessa, asked the caller to repeat himself several times.
In fact Weather Is Good on Deribasovskaya, It Rains Again on Brighton Beach is the name of a 1992 Russian-American comedy movie about secret agents, with its title taken from the intentionally absurd passwords they use.
The street has slightly different names in Ukrainian and Russian and the comedian used the Ukrainian version.
Schiff eventually said he would have his staff call the Ukrainian legislator’s office later to ‘get spellings and more details on this.’
The prankster promised to send the materials, and also offered to have Sobchak and Buzova extradited to the United States ‘and you can put them to your special jail Guantanamo.’
‘Well, I’ll be in touch with the FBI about this,’ said Schiff. ‘And we’ll make arrangements with your staff. I think it probably would be best to provide these materials both to our committee and to the FBI. So we’ll make arrangements between my staff and yours on how to facilitate that. And we’ll also obviously let the FBI know about Buzova and Sobchak’s plans to travel to Ukraine.’
The caller also suggested that Schiff use the passcode ‘The weather is good on Deribasivska’ the next time he talks to Trump and ‘look at how his face will change color.’
‘And so those passwords were used with Mr. Trump?’ said Schiff.
‘Yes, of course,’ said the caller.
‘We will be back in touch with you through our staff to make arrangements to obtain these materials for our committee and the FBI. I appreciate you reaching out to us,’ said Schiff.
The comedians posted the video of the call online with the caption: ‘Democratic Senator Adam Schiff believed Russian prankers Lexus and Vovan that Ukrainian intelligence has confirmation that Russian ‘scouts’ Ksenia Sobchak , Olga Buzova and Arkady Ukupnik collected dirt on US President Donald Trump.’
READ HOW RUSSIAN PRANKSTERS TOLD DEMOCRAT ADAM SCHIFF THEY HAD ‘KOMPROMAT’ ON PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Adam Schiff: Hi, how are you?
Caller: Hello Mr. Schiff, thank you for your time.
Schiff: Thank you, Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you.
Caller: I know that you work for investigation regarding Trump and Russian government.
Caller: We have some important information about it.
Schiff: And that is documented as well in materials you want to provide to us?
Caller: Yes. Could I explain you where we are?
Schiff: Yes of course. But again, I would caution that our Russian friends may be listening to the conversation so I wouldn’t share anything over the phone that you wouldn’t want them to hear.
Caller: No, I don’t think that will impact on our investigation.
Schiff: Yes. Please, go ahead then.
Caller: In November 2013, Mr. Trump visited Moscow, it was competition Miss Universe. There he met with Russian journalist and celebrity Ksenia Sobchak.
Schiff: I’m sorry, can you explain that again? While he was in Moscow in November 2013 he met with a journalist?
Caller: Well, she’s poor journalist. But anyway, she became famous because Putin is her godfather.
Schiff: Okay. Putin godfather, okay.
Caller: She also known as the person who provide support for oligarchs. She met with Trump and she brought him one of Russian girl celebrities, Olga Buzova, who’s also known as person who’s [unintelligible].
Schiff: Okay, and how do you spell her name?
Caller: Olga Buzova.
Schiff: So Olga Buzova is a friend of the reporter?
Caller: Yes, she’s a friend of reporter and I think a special agent of Russia Secret Service Ksenia Sobchak.
Schiff: That Sobchak is or Olga is?
Caller: No, Sobchak is [unintelligible]
Schiff: Okay. So Buzova met with Trump in New York at some point after the 2013 Miss Universe.
Caller: Yes, absolutely. And she got compromising materials on Trump after their short relations.
Schiff: Okay. And what’s the nature of the Kompromat?
Caller: Well, there were pictures of naked Trump.
Schiff: Okay. And so Putin was made aware of the availability of the comprising material?
Caller: Yes, of course. Buzova shared those materials with Sobchak and Sobchak shared those materials with Putin, because she’s the goddaughter of Putin. And Putin decided to press Trump.
Schiff: And the materials you could provide to the committee or to the FBI, would they corroborate this allegation?
Caller: Sure, of course. When they were in Ukraine we got their conversation by the phone where they are discussing those compromising materials. We are ready to provide it.
Schiff: So you have recordings of both Sobchak and Buzova where they are discussing the compromising material on Trump?
Caller: Absolutely, and we also know who was a mediator between Trump and Russian government who met with ex-advisor of Trump, Mr. Flynn. It was Russian singer, very famous singer, Arkadiy Ukupnik, who met with Mr. Flynn on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn in special Russian café Langeron.
Schiff: What’s that again?
Caller: Yes, it’s on Brighton Beach. It’s a Russian district in Brooklyn.
Schiff: And do you know what was discussed?
Caller: They discussed many things. But the most interesting thing is they used a special password for their meetings. When they met each other they said ‘The weather is good on Deribasivska.’
Schiff: The weather is good in – where?
Caller: ‘The weather is good on Deribasivska.’ That is the name of a street in Odessa. Did you hear?
Schiff: Yes, I did. So it’s a street in Odessa?
Schiff: And the code word is ‘Weather is good on ‘Zerabasta’?’
Caller: Deribasivskaya. Deribasivskaya.
Schiff: Okay. And I’ll have my staff call up to get spellings and more details on this.
Caller: The next part of their password was, ‘It rains again on Brighton Beach.’
Schiff: ‘It rains again on Brighton Beach.’
Caller: Yes. On that meeting, Ukupnik told Flynn that all those compromising materials will never be released if Trump will cancel all the Russian sanctions.
Schiff: Okay. Well obviously we would welcome the chance to get copies of those recordings. So we will try to work with the FBI to figure out along with your staff how we can obtain copies of those.
Caller: Of course we will provide you all our copies of all our materials. But I also would like to let you know that Sobchak and Buzova will pretty soon visit our country and we could arrest them and deliver them to your embassy and we also could extradite them to your country and you can put them to your special jail Guantanamo.
Schiff: Well, I’ll be in touch with the FBI about this. And we’ll make arrangements with your staff. I think it probably would be best to provide these materials both to our committee and to the FBI. So we’ll make arrangements between my staff and yours on how to facilitate that. And we’ll also obviously let the FBI know about Buzova and Sobchak’s plans to travel to Ukraine.
Caller: I also advise you to check all Sobchak’s visits in the West because she was in the West very often and suggest you check what she did there actually. And I also would like to look at Russian café on Brighton Beach Langeron and especially on head of Russian Mafia Uncle Mischa.
Schiff: Uncle Mischa? In Brighton Beach?
Caller: Yes, he’s the head of Russian mafia. And he’s located on that restaurant on Brighton Beach.
Caller: I just want to advise you just to look at them, please.
Rep. Schiff: Alrighty. This was very helpful, I appreciate it. Anything else you wanted to add today?
Caller: Well I hope that my information will be useful for you and your committee. And I also would like to advise you when you or your colleagues will meet with Mr Trump I advise you to tell him first part of the password, ‘The weather is good on Deribasivska,’ and look at how his face will change color.
Schiff: And so those passwords were used with Mr. Trump?
Caller: Yes, of course.
Rep. Schiff: Okay. Well thank you very much. We will be back in touch with you through our staff to make arrangements to obtain these materials for our committee and the FBI. I appreciate you reaching out to us.
Caller: Well let’s be in touch and wait for your response from FBI.
Schiff: Excellent. I’ll have them follow up as soon as possible, and I thank you again. Goodbye.