Rep. Adam Schiff Says There Is "Certainly A Lot Of Evidence" Of Collusion Between The Trump Campaign And Russia
The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said special counsel Robert Mueller would ultimately decide if the Trump campaign committed a crime. But he added: "In terms of ethical violations and acting against the interest of the United States, that evidence is already ample and in the public view."
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on a House committee investigating Russia interference in the 2016 election, said Wednesday that there is "certainly a lot of evidence on the issue of collusion" with the Trump campaign.
"I think we ought to wait until our investigation is done and [special counsel] Bob Mueller's is done before reaching the ultimate question in terms of criminal liability," Schiff said on BuzzFeed News' AM to DM on Wednesday morning. "In terms of ethical violations and acting against the interest of the United States, that evidence is already ample and in the public view."
Schiff cautioned that he wasn't ready to "reach any ultimate conclusions" himself, but pointed to evidence already in the public view, including that former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos had been in contact with the Russians and was told that they had "thousands" of Hillary Clinton's emails. Schiff also pointed to the Trump Tower meeting Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner had with a Russian attorney who had promised dirt on the Clinton campaign.
"Certainly this is evidence of collusion," Schiff said, but added that Mueller would have to determine whether it was a crime, specifically a "conspiracy to violate US election laws."
The House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation has been haunted by partisan drama throughout the last year. Asked how the turmoil had affected his relationship with his Republican counterpart on the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (who ostensibly took a step back from the Russia investigation), Schiff said that it was "not personal" and that they are still on speaking terms.
Pressed on whether he would campaign against Nunes, a fellow Californian, this year, Schiff said he wouldn't.
"It's not personal that way," Schiff said. "It's not personal in the sense that I have some vendetta against Devin Nunes. Rather I'm deeply concerned with the way that the chairman is tearing down the FBI and the Department of Justice right now and doing long-term damage to those institutions and also has lost focus, if ever there was focus on his part, on the Russia investigation."
Schiff was also asked about Trump's new nickname for him — "Little Adam Schiff" — which sparked questions about Schiff's height. Asked how tall he actually was, he said he was "about five ten and a half."
"I have to say I'm a little disappointed with the new nickname, because last year he was calling me 'Sleazy Adam Schiff' on Twitter. Now I'm just 'Little Adam Schiff,' which seems like an improvement," Schiff said. "Does that mean he's warming up to me?"