Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said there was “direct evidence” that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia.
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN: Cohen said though in that open testimony, he had no direct evidence of collusion with Russia. The Senate Intel chairman also said at this point no evidence of collusion at this point. Have you seen– do you have direct evidence of collusion with Russia?
REP. SCHIFF: Well I think there is direct evidence in the e-mails from the Russians through their intermediary offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what is described in writing as the Russian government effort to help elect Donald Trump. They offer that dirt. There is an acceptance of that offer in writing from the president’s son Don Jr. and there is overt acts in furtherance of that. That is the meeting at Trump Tower and all the lies to cover up that meeting at the Trump Tower and apparently lies that the president participated in. That to me is direct evidence but there’s also abundant circumstantial evidence. There is for example evidence of Manafort sharing internal polling data with someone linked to the Russian intelligence services.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But–
REP. SCHIFF: Why do that? What legitimate purpose is there for things like that? Michael Cohen’s own testimony was circumstantial evidence that the president was dealing with Roger Stone who is dealing with WikiLeaks and effort to–
MARGARET BRENNAN: But none of this–
REP. SCHIFF: Find out about–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Amounts to–
REP. SCHIFF: Releases of information.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Impeachment grounds for you still. I mean these are serious allegations.
REP. SCHIFF: Well I mean here’s the thing and I’ve made this- I made this distinction all along and that is while there is abundant evidence of collusion, the issue from a criminal point of view is whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a criminal conspiracy. And that is something that we will have to await Bob Mueller’s report and the underlying evidence to determine. We will also have to look at the whole body of improper and criminal actions by the president including those campaign finance crimes to determine whether they rise to the level of removal from office. I have said that I think we should await the evidence from Bob Mueller as well as our own work. And I’m pleased to see that Mr. Nunez who and I- he and I have profound disagreements about many things are in agreement on one thing the report and the evidence needs to be provided to Congress. I think that also needs to be made public.
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