President Donald Trump on Sunday accused House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of leaking classified information on Russian interference in the 2020 election. Trump said he thinks the goal of the California Democrat was to hurt the candidacy of current Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Trump made the comment as he departed the White House for a trip to India in response to a question about reports that a congressional briefing indicated Russia was supporting Sanders.
“I read where Russia is helping Bernie Sanders. Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all,” Trump said, according to Reuters.
“They leaked it — Adam Schiff and his group, they leaked it to the papers as usual. They ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information. He should not be leaking information out of intelligence. They ought to investigate Adam Schiff,” Trump said, according to a White House media pool report.
Trump added to his comments with a tweet about Schiff.
Somebody please tell incompetent (thanks for my high poll numbers) & corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff to stop leaking Classified information or, even worse, made up information, to the Fake News Media. Someday he will be caught, & that will be a very unpleasant experience!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2020
“What it could be is, you know, the Democrats are treating Bernie Sanders very unfairly and it sounds to me like a leak from Adam Schiff because they don’t want Bernie Sanders to represent them. It sounds like it’s ’16 all over again for Bernie Sanders,” Trump said, according to the pool report.
“He had a great victory yesterday, but you know what’s happening, you can see the handwriting on the wall.”
Trump’s comments brought about a rejoinder from Schiff on Twitter.
“Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. You’ve betrayed America. Again,” Schiff tweeted.
Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one.
You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine’s help in 2019, and won’t protect our elections in 2020.
Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it.
You’ve betrayed America. Again. https://t.co/WlMDaz8stF
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 23, 2020
Trump’s comments came days after The Times report described the briefing by saying that lawmakers were told that Russia was supporting Trump as well as Sanders.
The report has been contested, even among the media, as well as by administration officials.
“I haven’t seen any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump re-elected,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien said on the ABC program “This Week,” according to Reuters.
Schiff has said before that despite there being no charges field against Trump, he still believes the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in 2016.
The fact that special counsel Robert Mueller came up empty in its effort to prove collusion allegations against Trump hasn’t deterred Schiff at all.
“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,” he said in March 2019.
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