Adam Schiff on Trump Campaign Spying: "It Simply Didn't Happen"; President Putting "Government On Trial"

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Adam Schiff told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday that it is "nonsense" that the Trump presidential campaign was surveilled, however even talking about potential people that could have spied on it is dangerous.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Here with us now is California Congressman Adam Schiff. He's the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.



So what do you think about this demand from the president yesterday, I hereby demand that they look into this, to try to find out if this informant, or what he called a spy for all practical purposes, was authorized to go ahead and establish these contacts with Trump campaign officials?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, I think second to the firing of Comey, this is the most direct assault on the independence of the Justice Department, the most direct effort to interfere with this investigation of the Trump campaign.

It's deeply disturbing. Obviously it puts the Justice Department in a very difficult position. Normally you would expect if the Congress were trying to erode the department's independence or compromise an investigation that the president would protect the department, and conversely, if the president were trying to do it, the Congress would protect the department. But here we have a weak speaker. We have members of Congress that are only too happy to be complicit with the president and beating down the independence of the Justice Department. And this is a major threat to a rule of law.

BLITZER: Because he said in his tweet yesterday, and I'll read it again, I hereby demand and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes, and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama administration.

We now know that the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has ordered that the inspector general take a look at this.

SCHIFF: Yes. And, you know, I think they're trying to figure out, how do they skin this cat at the Justice Department, how do they not be, on the one hand, insubordinate to an order of the president. But on the other hand, make sure that they don't erode the independence of the Justice Department. So they've kicked it to the inspector general. I have to say, I am concerned with some of the comments of the deputy attorney general suggesting, well, we'll look into find out whether there's any legitimate concern about a politically embedded spy. They know that's nonsense and I hate to see them say anything to give it credence.

BLITZER: Tell us why it's nonsense.

SCHIFF: Well, because it simply didn't happen. And when you hear reports, as was just related, that there is concern within the White House about this, there's not concern within the White House about this. There is a sense of opportunity. Let's exploit anything, any doubt we can create. This is a defense strategy. Put the government on trial.

When the evidence looks increasingly incriminating of your client, in this case the president, put the investigators on trial. And that's all they're trying to do here. And the question is, will the Congress go along with it? And, sadly, you have a few members of Congress who are actively helping the president in this. And then the rest, in terms of the governing party, are remaining silent.


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