Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday there is compelling evidence that President Donald Trump colluded with Russian interests during the 2016 presidential election.
The accusation comes as special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation without charging any U.S. citizen with a collusion-related crime, though six Trump associates were charged for unrelated criminal offenses.
“There’s a difference between compelling evidence of collusion and whether the special counsel concludes that he can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the criminal charge of conspiracy,” Schiff told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“I have trust in (Mueller’s) prosecutorial judgment,” Schiff added. “But that doesn’t mean, of course, that there isn’t compelling and incriminating evidence that should be shared with the American people.”
Schiff listed several episodes as substantiating the collusion charge, including the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and a Kremlin-aligned lawyer, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s post-election conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and erstwhile Trump confidant Roger Stone’s communications with WikiLeaks.
The conduct underlying those widely reported episodes did not result in criminal indictments, though Flynn and Stone were charged with various process crimes. Mueller’s investigation — at Schiff’s urging — of Donald Trump Jr., Erik Prince and Jared Kushner for lying to Congress also concluded without indictments.
Attorney General William Barr will deliver a top-line summary of Mueller’s report to Congress on Sunday. It is not yet clear whether Congress or the public will have access to Mueller’s report in full. In a Friday letter to relevant committee chairmen, Barr said he would make decisions as to disclosure consistent with the law and DOJ practice.
“I remain committed to as much transparency as possible,” Barr wrote.
A related dispute as to executive privilege may follow. The White House may wish to shield portions of the report that relate to communications within the executive branch, among other subjects. Such a move is sure to draw fierce criticism from Democrats.
Whatever the particulars of the special counsel’s report, Schiff indicated that the House Intelligence Committee would continue its investigations, Mueller’s own conclusions notwithstanding.
“We have an independent obligation to share the facts with the American people,” Schiff said. “We in the Intelligence Committee have a particular obligation to determine whether there is evidence that the president may be compromised in any way, whether that is criminal or not.”
The House Judiciary Committee is separately undertaking its own wide-ranging investigation of the president.
Mueller submitted his final report to Justice Department leadership on Friday.
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