Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is lamenting the process involved in investigating President Trump and the 2016 Russian election meddling.
The Republicans were in charge of the investigation, and now Schiff seems to be in charge of detailing the committee dysfunction. But he’s not alone, even Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace seemed to eviscerate the House process as little more than a coverup for the president. Wallace pointed out that the committee had never heard from key witnesses like former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. “Your conclusion is not conclusive,” Wallace said to one of the Republican members, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
However the incomplete the investigation might have been, Schiff did argue that the probe, in fact, did turn up “ample evidence” of Trump’s collusion both with the Russians and with the panel’s Republican chairman, Devin Nunes.
“They announced their conclusions, which included among other things that the Russians had not intervened in the election to help Donald Trump. Now, that’s at odds with what the intelligence community has found. It’s at odds with what our committee has found. It’s at odds with what the Senate committee has found. It’s at odds with what Bob Mueller has found.” Schiff said their report was “a political statement, not a finding.
Schiff reported that even though Devin Nunes recused himself because of alleged collusion with the White House, he continued to “run the show.”
“Had Mr. Conaway and I been really given the latitude to run the investigation, it would have been a very different investigation,” Schiff said. “Chairman Nunes, even when he said he was stepping aside after the midnight run, never did, and continued to make all the key decisions—which witnesses would come in; when they would come; and what open hearings we would have; what open hearings we wouldn’t have; what subpoenas would go out; what subpoenas wouldn’t go out—all of these sideshow investigations of FISA abuse and Uranium One and all that—those were all decisions made by Chairman Nunes, not by Mike Conaway.”
Schiff didn’t just go after Trump and Nunes; he went after other GOP leaders who refused to stand up to their colleagues.
“I think one of the really sad realizations over the last year is not what kind of a president Donald Trump turns out to be—I think it was all too predictable—but rather, how many members of Congress would be unwilling to stand up to him, and more than that, would be completely willing to carry water for him. That is a very sad realization,” Schiff said. “I did not expect that. I thought there would be more Jeff Flakes, more John McCains, more Bob Corkers—people who would defend our system of checks and balances, would speak out for decency, who would defend the First Amendment.”
One of the most interesting outcomes in the wake of this kind of criticism is Schiff’s unwillingness to deny that he might be a candidate for speaker if the Democrats win, saying only that it was his “hope” that the current Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi will run again. When Schiff received a rebuttal that he was giving a non-denial denial, he replied, “Well, I don’t know what my future holds.”
What do you think about Schiff’s criticism of the GOP and his possible run for speaker if his party wins?