Rep. Adam Schiff said Monday that in addition to the existence of “circumstantial evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, there’s direct evidence of “deception.”
In an interview on “CBS This Morning,” the California Democrat and top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said that he couldn’t speak in detail about the circumstantial evidence, but he said that some of it would emerge at the panel’s hearing with FBI Director James Comey on Monday.
“I also think in addition to that circumstantial evidence, there’s very direct evidence of collusion,” he said.
Schiff referred to President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who misled administration officials about a phone call he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. regarding U.S. sanctions against Russia.
“Why was he deceptive about this? Why would he lie about that conversation? Why was it necessary to fire him?” Schiff said.
Asked about Mr. Trump’s tweet Monday about trying to find people leaking classified information, Schiff said, “Leaks are certainly an issue and they’ve been an issue for this president and other presidents in the past.”
“I think that’s for the president, a convenient way to say, ‘Don’t look at the underlying problem here, let’s just look at one of the effects that has come to light -- the leaking problem,” he said. “I think that’s a bit of a dodge.”
Schiff reiterated that Russia, a foreign adversarial power, intervened in the 2016 U.S. election, which he said was a “very close election” and he said the intelligence community says Russia is “going to do it again.”
He also said that if lawmakers can establish evidence that Russia used “financial entanglement” as a way of exerting influence over the Trump business, they could try and get the president’s tax returns.
“If there’s evidence that leads in that direction, i think there’s a case that could be made that we need the tax returns to either corroborate or disprove what the russians might have been doing in terms of trying to financially entangle the Trump Organization,” he said. “I don’t think we’re there yet.”