Adam Schiff isn't backing down: 'Undoubtedly there is collusion'

Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, isn’t ready to move on from his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, despite the decision by Attorney General William Barr not to bring charges against the president.

The California Democrat is keeping up his demand for public release of the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller rather than the four-page summary Barr released over the weekend. His committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the topic of “Putin’s Playbook: The Kremlin’s Use of Oligarchs, Money and Intelligence in 2016 and Beyond.”

Schiff said Wednesday that Barr had “attempted to exonerate the President” from obstruction of justice allegations.

Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

“Barr auditioned for the job with a memo saying a President cannot obstruct justice,” Schiff tweeted. “Last weekend, Barr did the job he was hired to do, and attempted to exonerate the President on obstruction. The American people must see the full Mueller report, not a biased summary.”

Barr’s four-page letter on Sunday said that while it is clear that Russia did attempt to influence the election, “the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government” in those efforts.

Barr is redacting portions of Mueller’s report to prepare it for release to Congress, a process that he said would probably take “weeks.” To comply with executive privilege, the Justice Department may first hand the document over to the White House for additional redactions.

With Trump supporters and the president taking a victory lap after Barr released his summary, Schiff also made clear this week that his committee will not be moving on to other issues now that Mueller has completed his report.

“Undoubtedly there is collusion,” Schiff told reporters in Washington this week. “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.”

On Monday, Schiff also singled out the attorney general.

With the completion of the report and Barr’s four-page summary that Trump described as a “total exoneration,” Republicans quickly targeted Schiff over comments he made regarding the investigation.

In March 2017, for instance, Schiff declared that “there is more than circumstantial evidence” linking Russian and members of the Trump campaign.

“The Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help,” Schiff said in a December interview with CNN. “The Russians gave help and the president made full use of that help. That is pretty damning, whether it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of conspiracy or not.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy this week led a chorus of Republicans seeking Schiff’s resignation.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, also singled out Schiff.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has brushed aside calls for Schiff’s resignation.

“Chairman Schiff has done an outstanding job and that’s the reason why he’s subject to these ridiculous attacks," a Pelosi spokeswoman said in a statement Tuesday. "Democrats aren’t going to be intimidated by the White House or Congressional Republicans, we’re not going to be distracted from securing the release of the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence, and we will continue to pursue legitimate oversight because that’s what the Constitution requires."

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