Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, rejected the Justice Department’s determination that President Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia, citing an FBI counterintelligence investigation that Attorney General Bill Barr did not mention at all in his letter to Congress.
Schiff told The Washington Post that he rejects Barr’s claim that the campaign did not collude with Russia after spending two years looking at the evidence.
“Undoubtedly there is collusion,” he said.
“We will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. That is, is the president or people around him compromised in any way by a hostile foreign power? . . . It doesn’t appear that was any part of Mueller’s report,” he added.
It’s unclear whether the counterintelligence investigation into Trump, which was opened before Mueller’s appointment, is mentioned in his actual report. It was not mentioned in Barr’s letter to Congress. The FBI will reportedly brief Congressional leaders and the heads of the Senate and House intelligence committee on that investigation in the coming weeks.
Other Democrats back Schiff:
Schiff is not the only one expressing skepticism. “Democrats maintain that Schiff is not wrong in saying there was evidence of collusion even if Mueller determined that the matter did not rise to a level that warranted prosecution,” The Post reported.
“It doesn’t mean there wasn’t an enormous amount of smoke there,” said Vermont Rep. Peter Welch, a member of the intel committee. “This was a fine legal distinction Mr. Mueller had to make.”
Republicans demand Schiff resign:
Republicans have targeted Schiff, who has long been a leading critic of Trump and his ties to Russia, in their response to Barr’s brief summary of Mueller’s report and have called for him to step down, much like Democrats demanded former Intel Chairman Devin Nunes resign for using his position to do Trump’s bidding.
“He’s been on every TV show 50 times a day for practically the last two years, promising Americans that this president would either be impeached or indicted,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News. “He has no right, as somebody who has been peddling a lie, day after day after day, unchallenged. Unchallenged and not under oath. Somebody should have put him under oath and said, ‘You have evidence, where is it?'”
“He's saying there was evidence of collusion in plain sight, that he knew of it,” she said. “If he's got evidence, put him under oath.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also called for Schiff to step down.
“He owes an apology to the American public," McCarthy told Fox. “There is no place in Adam Schiff's world or in Congress that he should be chair of the intel committee."
"There is no way he could lead the intel committee and he should step back,” he added.