The Great Smoky Mountain Journal
Tuesday, January 01, 2019 02:40 PM
Top Dem On Intel Committee Slams Republicans For Prematurely Shutting Down Russia Probe
The top Democrat on the House Permanent
Select Committee on Intelligence blasted Republicans Tuesday for
“prematurely” shutting down the panel’s Russia probe, saying the matter
still requires investigation.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., released a 22-page status update from the committee’s minority staff to “inform the American public” about “key lines of inquiry” still requiring congressional investigation.
“The majority on the Intelligence Committee made the decision to prematurely shut down the Russia investigation,” Schiff said Tuesday evening on Capitol Hill. “That was a terrible disservice to the country and the American people.”
On Monday evening, Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who led the bipartisan investigation on the committee, released the majority report on the investigation, stating that they found “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
The committee’s investigation was based on four topics: Russian active measures against the 2016 U.S. election, the U.S. government’s response to that attack, links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and purported leaks of classified information.
TRUMP TOUTS HOUSE INTEL FINDINGS OF 'NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION' BETWEEN CAMPAIGN, RUSSIA
Conaway said on “Special Report” Monday that the Republicans on the committee believed they had “the information necessary to answer those for the American people.”
But Schiff Tuesday slammed Conaway, saying the majority’s report was “incomplete,” as Republicans on the committee were “unwilling” to obtain necessary information.
“There is significant evidence of collusion,” Schiff said Tuesday, noting much of it was in the “public domain,” pointing to the meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and then-candidate Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his son Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner; as well as alleged conversations former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had during the transition.
“All of that bares the issue of collusion,” Schiff said. “And of course, one of the most important parts of an investigation is putting the pieces together.”
Schiff said the Democrats on the committee would “continue to do our work,” noting that there were still individuals that were willing to “cooperate” that they would like to interview.
A source close to the majority staff on the committee told Fox News on Monday they were finished with the “investigation” portion of the probe—meaning it would not interview any additional witnesses as part of its effort.
But the Democratic status report outlines a “partial list” of “key witnesses” that Schiff says the majority “refused” to interview.
On the list are: Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former Trump campaign senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, former deputy national security adviser, then-ambassador to Singapore KT McFarland, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino, former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg, Russian attorney at the Trump Tower meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya, among others.
“The decision to shut down the investigation before key witnesses could be interviewed and vital documentary evidence obtained will prevent us from fully discharging our duty to the House and to the American people,” the status report reviewed by Fox News read. “The Committee Minority will be issuing an interim report that lays out the facts that we know to date and identifies what significant investigative steps remain, especially with respect to the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice.”
The majority staff report released Monday was 25-pages long, outlining more than 25 recommendations for Congress and the executive branch to improve election security, U.S. government response to cyberattacks, campaign finance transparency, and counterintelligence practices related to political campaigns and unauthorized disclosures.
Schiff said the American people could ultimately be presented with two reports on the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election.
“This work is too important to leave undone,” Schiff said.