"It is undeniable that there is collusion": Adam Schiff, opponent of Trump, is double-fired after Mueller found no conspiracy



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President Trump, encouraged by the special council's determination not to be part of a criminal plot to influence the 2016 election, has an early target as he seeks redress for his Critics: Representative Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who maintains he saw evidence that Trump collaborated with Russia.

Over the past two years, Schiff, who now chairs the House's Intelligence Committee, has emerged as a public flagship for Trump and his supporters. He delivered harsh accusations to Trump for calling the "witch hunt" the investigation of Robert S. Mueller III. unfit to lead.

Yet, even though House Democrats are clearly moving away from the issue of collusion, they continue to rally around Schiff, who refuses to leave the matter in abeyance until the Legislator can evaluate the investigation documents that informed Mueller's findings.

"There is undoubtedly collusion," Schiff said in an interview this week, after Attorney General William P. Barr addressed a four-page letter to Congress summarizing key aspects of Mueller's report. . "We will continue to investigate counter-intelligence issues. In other words, are the president or the people around him compromised one way or another by a hostile foreign power? . . . It does not seem to be part of Mueller's report. "

A justice ministry official said Tuesday that it will take weeks to make the Mueller report public. Democrats in the House gave Barr Monday a deadline of April 2 to provide a copy to Congress.

This week, the Trump campaign singled out Schiff, along with Intelligence Committee Representative Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), On a list of people he urged the media to avoid being interviewed after Barr had announced the findings of Mueller, according to information. The list includes the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler (DN.Y.) and former CIA Director John Brennan, who, like Schiff, have infuriated the President with his scrutiny and his critics .

Although Barr's summary cast doubt on the premise of the inquiry conducted by the Intelligence Committee on Russia, at least among Republicans, Democrats maintain that Schiff is not wrong to say that There was evidence of collusion, although Mueller had determined that the problem had not reached a level that justified it. pursuit.

"That's not to say that there was not a huge amount of smoke there," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Member of the Intelligence Committee. "It was a fine legal distinction that Mr. Mueller had to make."

Schiff nevertheless took steps to suspend the committee's investigation pending publication of Mueller's findings. On Monday, he announced that the committee had indefinitely postponed a scheduled hearing with Felix Sater, a former associate of the chairman of the Business Council associated with the project to build a Trump tower in Moscow.

Schiff said the break was temporary, adding that the intelligence group could still find "deeply compromising" evidence in its counterintelligence investigation, which is outside the scope of Mueller's criminal investigation. He promised that his group, in partnership with House's Financial Services Committee, would continue to investigate money laundering allegations involving Trump's real estate and the loans his company had sought from Deutsche Bank.

The House Intelligence Committee was a center for partisan struggles over Trump's alleged ties to Russia, even before Mueller began his investigation, developing a reputation for discord and snipers during the investigation by the GOP on Russia, which had determined that there was no evidence of collusion with Russia.

Republicans see in Schiff's recalibration the proof that he was wrong to challenge Trump.

"He spent 22 months lying in the country," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), One of Trump's most ardent supporters in Congress.

Gaetz said that in seeking Schiff's ouster as chairman of the committee, Republicans were following the example given by the Democrats who, in 2017, wanted to dismiss Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif. ) When he chaired the committee.

The Democrats have asked Nunes to step down from his presidential post after a controversial visit to the White House during which he examined confidential information with government officials and then told reporters that the president's aides might have been caught in the trap of wiretapping. Nunes was put under ethical investigation and finally released from any wrongdoing, but he deviated from the task of conducting the investigation of the Intelligence Commission on Russia.

During this episode, Schiff questioned Nunes' motivation for the "midnight run", as he called it, and then accused Nunes of being "misleading" in his efforts to portray the Federal law enforcement officials as corrupt and biased to seek to monitor a former Trump campaign advisor.

Republicans view these episodes as "an important context," said Gaetz, in their own call for Schiff's resignation, which was voiced by such eminent figures as Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Leader of the minority of the House, and Kellyanne Conway, Senior Advisor at the White House. and the son of President Donald Trump Jr.

Until now, these requests do not seem to go anywhere. Schiff has the support of party leaders, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Who counts him among her closest confidants and most trusted advisers.

On the political front, the fact that the GOP is focusing on Schiff "probably helps him," said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, professor of communication at the University of Southern California and a close observer of California politics. "You talk about California, the state that is the backbone of anti-Trump resistance," she said. "It will not hurt Adam Schiff in California, period."

Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis and Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.

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