House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., wouldn’t say Sunday if he would accept special counsel Robert Mueller being unable to find direction collusion between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
The House Intelligence Committee is embarking on a sweeping investigation into Trump’s financial transactions and Russia, and Schiff adamantly stressed that his panel will continue its work unimpeded regardless of what Mueller says.
During an interview on CNN, Schiff discussed at length all the «evidence in plain sight» of collusion he believes there is, but said «it will be up to Mueller to decide if that amounts to criminal conspiracy.»
However, when he was asked point blank if he would accept Mueller’s findings if no clear evidence of collusion is determined, Schiff demurred. Instead he focused his answer on how his committee will conduct its own inquiry and how he’ll fight to gain access to Mueller’s evidence should it be withheld from public view.
«We’re going to have to do our own investigation, and we are. We’ll certainly be very interested to learn what Bob Mueller finds. We may have to fight to get that information. Bill Barr has not been willing to commit to provide that report either to the Congress or to the American people. We’re going to need to see it,» Schiff said on «State of the Union,» referring to Trump’s newly confirmed attorney general.
«The American people need to see it. We may also need to see the evidence behind that report,» he added. «There may be, for example, evidence of collusion or conspiracy that is clear and convincing. But not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The American people are entitled to know if there is evidence of a conspiracy between either the president or the president’s campaign and a foreign adversary. At the end of the day, the most important thing for the American people to know is whether the president is somehow compromised, whether there’s a leverage the Russians could use over the president, and if the Russians are in a position to expose wrongdoing by the president or his campaign.»
Host Dana Bash pressed Schiff again, asking if he would accept Mueller’s findings separate from his own investigation. Schiff’s response focused on the integrity of Mueller’s operation.
«You know, I will certainly accept them in this way, Dana. I have great confidence in the special counsel. And if the special counsel represents that he has investigated and not been interfered with and not been able to make a criminal case, then I will believe that he is operating in good faith,» Schiff said.
Schiff and his Democratic majority are reopening the House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry into Russian interference after the GOP-led panel in the last term completed an investigation that found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. At the time, the Democrats said the GOP-led effort wrapped prematurely.
Schiff also dismissed a recent assertion made by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., that Schiff’s panel’s Russia investigation has yet to turn up evidence of collusion. He quipped «Chairman Burr must have a different word for» collusion, citing such controversies as the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting and Trump campaign staffer George Papadopoulos, who last year served 12 days for lying to FBI investigators about his contact with people linked to Russia during the 2016 campaign.