Win McNamee/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Democrats struck back at the revelation Wednesday that information about Trump campaign officials was “incidentally collected” during surveillance, with the party’s top intelligence
committee member alluding to growing evidence of a connection between the president’s associates and Russia.
House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff, D-Calif. was direct in telling MSNBC’s “MTP Daily” that the evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia was “more” than
“I don’t to want go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial, and it is very much worthy of investigation,” said Schiff. “So, that is what we ought to do.”
The comments came shortly after Schiff reprimanded his Republican counterpart at a Capitol Hill press conference, saying that Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. needs to separate
his duties with the committee from any allegiance to President Trump.
“[Chairman Nunes] will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the
Russians, or he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House because he cannot do both,” said Schiff.
Earlier in the day, Nunes told reporters that details about Americans involved in the presidential transition were among the cache collected by the intelligence community, and said that the
information had “little or no apparent foreign intelligence value.” He later traveled to the White House to brief Trump on the situation.
Nunes himself was a member of the Trump transition executive committee.
President Trump — who first tweeted that he was “wiretapped” by order of former President Barack Obama over two weeks ago — said he felt “somewhat” vindicated by the revelation and that he “very
much appreciated the fact that they found what they found.”
Schiff pushed back on Trump’s comments and categorized the day’s news as an “effort by the president and the White House to … create some uncertainty.” He told CNN’s “The Situation Room” that
Nunes should be prepared to “produce” the information he alluded to and that the intelligence previously presented refuted the president’s accusations.
“I don’t think anything is vindicated here except the president’s commitment to now quadruple down on a baseless accusation against his predecessor,” said Schiff.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. joined Schiff in the criticism of Nunes’ actions Wednesday, calling his statements “unprecedented” and “an act of diversion and desperation,” and
questioning his neutrality. She additionally called for the creation of a select committee to look the collusion allegations.
“The Chairman’s highly irregular conduct with the White House raises serious questions about his impartiality, especially given his history as part of the Trump transition team,” said Pelosi in a
statement. “Congress must create a comprehensive, independent, bipartisan commission to expose the full truth of the Trump-Russia connection.”
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