The GOP is still out for revenge against those who’ve sounded the alarm over President Donald Trump’s team ties to Russia in light of Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluding there’s no criminally prosecutable conspiracy, but House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is not interested in stepping aside quietly. He’s faced calls for his resignation from either his committee or Congress as a whole from individuals as high-ranking as presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway and the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., with many more Republicans piling on after those two. All nine Republicans on the intel panel have now joined that call — but at a Thursday public hearing, Schiff blasted their allegations that he’s unfit to serve as chairman.
He walked through a list of glaring evidence of corrupt Trump team ties to Russia that isn’t erased just because Attorney General William Barr released a summary of Mueller’s final report focusing on the final prosecutorial judgment on conspiracy allegations.
‘My colleagues may think it’s OK that the Russians offered dirt on the Democratic candidate for president… My colleagues may think that’s OK that when that dirt was offered to the president’s son, who had a pivotal role in the campaign… that son said that he would love the help of the Russians…. You might think that’s OK — I don’t…. You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic, and yes, I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion.’
Schiff walked through a whole host of other issues, including that of the Trump team’s eventual efforts to conceal the true purpose of Donald Trump Jr.’s eventual meeting with Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s efforts to coordinate the campaign with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and suspected Russian intelligence agent Konstantin Kilimnik, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s email servers — which they attempted that very same day — and more.
Adam Schiff goes off, lists the Trump Tower meeting, sharing of polling data, call to hack Clinton, Kushner back channel, and more: “You might say that’s all OK … I think it’s unpatriotic. And yes, I think it’s corrupt and evidence of collusion.” pic.twitter.com/ak4XxM6cvF
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 28, 2019
Mueller’s conclusion that none of these interactions rose to the level of criminally prosecutable conspiracy simply gives the Trump team points for incompetently bumbling around, while the issues of the president of the United States being compromised remain.
To that end, Schiff is among those who have demanded that Barr turn over the full Mueller report and its underlying evidence very soon, although he’s not expected to meet a deadline Schiff and other House Democratic leaders set of April 2. The report faces a review process for possible material protected by federal legislation covering grand jury proceedings and a review opportunity for the White House, which will apparently be allowed to claim executive privilege wherever it wants.
Before the Mueller report dropped, Schiff announced a renewed intel panel look at the Trump team’s foreign ties, which he has indicated he will keep up following the special counsel’s conclusion.
Besides Russia investigations, Trump also faces numerous other points of legal vulnerability. For instance, his inaugural committee remains under three investigations, there’s still the looming issue of his role in the illegal hush money scheme that sent his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen to prison, and he’s newly been accused of insurance, loan, and more tax fraud.
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