Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff forcefully and dramatically defended his continued probe of U.S. President Donald Trump's ties to Russia amid demands from the president and other Republicans that he resign from the panel he heads.
Schiff is chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee. Despite Attorney General Robert Barr saying the Mueller report clears Trump of collusion, Schiff contends Trump's actions before and after the election prove his guilt.
"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 said at the start of a committee hearing Thursday.
The California congressman pointed to contacts between Trump associates and Russians — some of which the associates lied about — and the president's continued pursuit of a Russian real estate deal after he was elected.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr is facing a firestorm of mostly Democratic criticism over declaring that President Donald Trump did not obstruct the Russia investigation, a move that came after Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapped up his probe Friday without drawing a conclusion on the thorny question.
Barr announced his decision Sunday in a four-page summary of Mueller's report which concluded that there was no evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 U.S.
Schiff also fired remarks at House Republicans, who he accused of approving Trump's behavior.
"You might say that's all OK. You might say that's just what you need to do to win. But I don't think it's OK," Schiff remarked. "And the day we do think that's OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day that America lost its way."
Earlier Thursday, Trump demanded on Twitter that Schiff quit after years of "lying and leaking."
Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
Trump didn't specify what lies Schiff is supposed to have told; there is also no proof that Schiff leaked any information to the press.
House Republicans picked up on Trump's insistence that Schiff resign, at least from the intelligence committee.
"We have no faith in your ability to discharge your duties," Mike Conway of Texas told him.
A second U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday sought to examine the motives of federal agents and investigators who launched the Trump-Russia probe as a Republican effort gathered momentum to seek retribution on behalf of President Donald Trump.
Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson told Reuters he planned to join Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a fellow Republican, in a review of what motivated an investigation that led to U.S.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defended Schiff and called Trump and Republicans who want his resignation "scaredy-cats...afraid of the truth. They're afraid of competence."
Pelosi also demanded Attorney General Barr hand over the entire Mueller report, which is said to exceed 300 pages. She and other Democrats say they do not want another Barr summary.
"No thank you, Mr. Attorney General. We do not need your interpretation. Show us the report and we'll come to our own conclusions," she said.
This week, Barr gave Congress and the public a four-page summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 22 month-long probe into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
According to Barr, Mueller wrote that Trump and his associates did not conspire with Russia. On the question of obstruction of justice by trying to derail the probe, Mueller could not reach a conclusion but did not "exonerate" the president.
Mueller turned the obstruction question over to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Barr wrote the two could not find evidence of criminal intent on Trump's part.
Trump had spent two years calling the Mueller probe a witch hunt and now wants an investigation of the investigation.
But Democrats have latched on to Mueller writing that he could not exonerate the president and want to see the entire report, as well as whatever evidence Mueller used to reach his conclusions.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler has given Barr until April 2 to hand over the report. But a Justice Department official said it may be weeks before it is ready to pass along.