Schiff: ‘There Is More Than Circumstantial Evidence Now’
Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon that there is evidence that is “not circumstantial” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Schiff’s statement escalates the rhetoric on Capitol Hill about allegations of ties between Russia and the president’s circle. It follows two major developments. On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his bureau is investigating collusion. Then, on Wednesday, Representative Devin Nunes, the chair of the House intelligence committee, made a puzzling announcement about so-called incidental collection of information from Trump team members. Nunes made that announcement without informing Schiff first.
Thus far, inquiries into Trump and Russia by both the press and the intelligence community have created a great deal of smoke but no fires, at least publicly. Some Democrats have implied or stated outright that they believe there was collusion, leading to accusations that they are overplaying their hand and overstating the available evidence.
But Schiff’s comment is different. He is both the ranking member on the intelligence committee, and is also not seen as the type of politician prone to hyperbole. He is also a former federal prosecutor.
On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia had been ongoing since July. Comey said the probe was included in the agency’s investigation into what the U.S. intelligence community concluded was an attempt by Russia to interfere with the 2016 election with the purpose of helping Trump win.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are conducting their own investigations.
Two weeks ago on “Meet The Press,” James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, said that to his knowledge, there was no evidence of collusion between Moscow and Trump associates. Clapper oversaw the work of U.S. intelligence agencies through January 20th.
On Wednesday, Schiff told Todd of Clapper’s statements, “All I can tell you is reviewing the evidence that I have, I don’t think you can conclude that at all — far from it.”