Rep. Schiff: I "Believe" There Is Evidence Of Russian Collusion; "Premature" To Say There Will Be No Proof


Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) appeared on CNN Thursday morning and responded to Rep. Peter King (R-NY) who said there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and any Russian government official. In an interview with Chris Cuomo, Schiff disagreed and said he "believe[s]" there is collusion.

CNN's Cuomo asked Schiff at what point does will the investigation look like a "ruse" if no actionable evidence turns up.

CUOMO: No proof -- no proof Peter King says. I have seen no proof of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Carter Page says the allegations are laughable. What do you say?

SCHIFF: Well, Carter Page is a person of interest to the community and probably likely to come before the committee, so I don't want to comment on anything he's had to say in particular.

But I do think we need to get to the bottom of these allegations of collusion or coordination. I have to disagree with my colleague in terms of whether there is any evidence of collusion. I believe that there is.

But nonetheless, this is something we need to investigate. I think there was a reason why the FBI began its investigation and why it continues that investigation. I don't think it is something the FBI does without any basis. But that's about as much as I can say without going into particulars.

I will say this, I think it would be deeply irresponsible of us not to follow the facts where they led, to do it objectively and not predetermine a conclusion. But there’s certainly as we have seen from many of the public reports, ample reason to do this investigation.

Cuomo asked Schiff if he is worried if "no real proof" surfaces showing collusion between Russian operatives that his investigation "will be seen as a failure and a ruse."

CUOMO: Concern politically if there winds up being no real proof that is actionable on a prosecution basis about the campaign or the administration and Russian operatives that will be seen as a failure and a ruse?

SCHIFF: Well, it shouldn't be seen as a failure if we do our jobs and we follow the facts wherever they lead and we reach a unified conclusion. We shouldn't go into this with the object we want to score this political point or that political point or we want to come up ultimately with a certain conclusion.

We'll be doing our job if we thoroughly investigate this and if we can reach a sound determination about what happened, what the Russians did, the different levers the Russians pulled. We know the Russians used a variety of techniques to interfere with elections in Europe. They used some here. And we want to find out everything the Russians did. I think that is what we ought to do responsibly.

I would say also, though, I think what would give the public the greatest confidence in addition to what we’re doing is if we had a truly independent commission that was well resourced and could be completely removed from any political consideration. I think that will be a supplement to what we do and not instead of what we’re doing.

"They’ve used hacking. They’ve used dumping. They’ve used paid media trolls. Some of those devices, we know they used here. Others we need to investigate," Schiff contended.

Schiff said it would be "premature" to say no proof of collusion will be found:

CUOMO: Well, you raise an interesting issue, which is about how will the people find satisfaction? You know, there is argument to be made you shouldn't be dealing with the collusion issue. That is a potentially criminal matter. You should stick with the DOJ, and the FBI and they are theoretically looking into it. You should be dealing with Russian interference, what happened to the political system, how we can combat it, how we do better in the next election.

What do you make of that suggestion?

SCHIFF: Well, I think long has a responsibility to find out what the Russians did. They have a number of techniques. They’ve used -- in Europe, for example, they have used blackmail. They have used compromising material. They have used financial entanglement.

They’ve used hacking. They’ve used dumping. They’ve used paid media trolls. Some of those devices, we know they used here. Others we need to investigate.

But, yes, we're not the prosecutors. Ultimately, the information we get, we may refer to the Justice Department. Of course, the FBI is doing its own investigation. But I don't think that means that we artificially wall off part of our oversight and say we're not going to look at these strategies the Russians may have used. I think we need to look at it all.

CUOMO: One last sum-up on this and then I want to ask you about taxes. Can you say with confidence at this point that it is premature for people to say there is going to be no proof of collusion?

SCHIFF: Yes. It's certainly premature. One of the challenges we have, Chris, in the investigation is, there are members of the Gang of Eight in the committee that have received certain information and then there’s the rest of the committee members. And what I have been urging the FBI is share the information that the Gang of Eight has received with the full committee, so that we're all on the same page, we’re all doing the same investigation. But that’s an issue that has yet to be resolved.

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