Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, condemned the panel’s Republicans after they released their final report declaring no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, accusing his GOP colleagues of choosing “not to seriously investigate” and ignoring evidence that he says was “in plain sight.”
“Throughout the investigation, Committee Republicans chose not to seriously investigate — or even see, when in plain sight — evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, instead adopting the role of defense counsel for key investigation witnesses,” Schiff says.
“The Trump campaign and Administration’s efforts to deny, conceal and, when discovered, misrepresent what took place in these interactions with the Russians is powerful evidence of a consciousness of wrongdoing,” he added.
The Hill added:
Schiff, who has been sharply critical of panel Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and his handing of the probe, pointed to meetings between Kremlin-linked officials and former Trump associates including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos as evidence of a broader scheme to collude with Russia’s government.
In the now-infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting, Manafort — as well as White House adviser Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. — met with a Russian lawyer they had been told could provide dirt on Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. said in one email ahead of the meeting.
“[T]here is no denying the abundant evidence that the Trump campaign sought, and was eager to accept, the assistance of a hostile foreign power bent on interfering in our election,” Schiff says.
“It is also uncontroverted that the Russians assisted the Trump campaign through a surreptitious social media campaign, an overt paid media effort, an elaborate hacking and dumping operation targeting the [Democratic National Committee] and Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, and potentially through additional means still under investigation.”
Committee Republicans released their report and findings on Friday, declaring in the document that the panel found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.”
The report criticized both the Trump and Clinton campaigns for “poor judgment and ill-considered actions.”
Committee Democrats criticized Republicans for ending the probe, which they say never interviewed several key witnesses.