Schiff: Trump Jr. meeting raises "real issue" on conspiracy to violate election laws

Rep. Adam Schiff of California says a conspiracy to violate U.S. election laws has now become a "very real issue" for the House Intelligence Committee to consider in the fallout over Donald Trump Jr.'s release of emails arranging a meeting with a Russian attorney in a bid to find damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

"You have three central campaign people, indeed three of the most important in the Trump campaign, who go to this meeting  with the full expectation of getting help from the Russian government and indeed have sent a signal to the Russian government they would welcome it, they would indeed love it," Schiff told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday.

He added, "They've also made a comment on the time that would be most useful and they've talked about, frankly admitted how dissapointed that in this particular meeting, they didn't get the dirt, the help they wanted from the Russians."

Schiff, a ranking member on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, which continues to work on their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, says his committee now wants to have "all participants" from the meeting as well as those who helped organize it to testify and provide any pertinent documents.

He noted that while the campaign and Trump administration will likely claim that they had "no intent to collude" with the Russian government, he says that's "not much of a defense."

"This is evidence that goes to the issue of collusion, the question is, is it sufficient evidence and I think we need to do a lot to  corroborate some of the evidence we've received before we can draw any conclusions," Schiff said.

Schiff added that Trump Jr.'s comments in his exchange of emails with music publicist Rob Goldstone also highlight the question of if this meeting was an effort to push negative or "fake" news by the Russian government.

"In those emails, it's very significant that Donald Jr. said it would be most helpful to get this information in the late summer, he's already talking about timing," Schiff said. "So if there was any kind of coordination on the timing of the pushing of either negative stories or false stories by Russians, social media trolls, that's something we need to know."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital