House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff claims he finally found the Democratic holy grail: “direct evidence” linking President Trump’s campaign with Russia.
Schiff told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face The Nation” that he finally found the smoking gun of the 2016 presidential campaign and was going to pursue this evidence should Special Counsel Robert Mueller decide not to charge Trump.
“The Moscow Trump Tower deal, for example, is among the most disturbing, because that’s something the president was pursuing throughout the midst of the presidential campaign,” Schiff said, CBS News reports. “We are certainly looking deep into this set of issues around Moscow at Trump Tower. We’re also looking at persistent allegations that the Russians have been laundering money through the Trump Organization. I don’t know that that’s true. But if it is, again, it’s a profound compromise of this president.”
“Schiff told ‘Face the Nation’ it would be ‘perilous’ to ignore the president’s financial interests or allow him to draw ‘red lines’ around portions of the investigation and pointed to the Trump Tower Moscow project as potentially ‘compromising,'” CBS News added.
“While saying he was having no business dealings with the Russians, that was a deal that stood to make him more money than any other deal in his life,” Schiff continued, speaking of the real estate deal former Trump attorney Michael Cohen spearheaded. The deal never materialized and was dropped before Trump became the president.
“And it was a deal where he was pursuing help from the Kremlin from Putin himself at a time when Putin was seeking relief from sanctions and that is the most compromising circumstance so that I can imagine,” Schiff said, CBS News reports.
According to the report, Schiff is looking to pursue the deal due to Cohen’s recent testimony before the House Oversight Committee. Cohen previously pleaded guilty to lying to Congress and will begin serving a three-year sentence later this month.
Asked if he has “direct evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Schiff pointed to emails setting up thebetween campaign officials and a Russian lawyer, arguing there is “abundant evidence of collusion.” But Schiff said he will wait for the conclusion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before determining whether he would support impeachment proceedings.
Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney,on Wednesday the president “knew of and directed the Trump Moscow negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it.”
“He lied about it because he never expected to win the election. He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project. And so I lied about it, too, because Mr. Trump had made clear to me, through his personal statements to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie,” Cohen testified.
Cohen told a Senate panel in 2017 that the plan to develop a tower in Moscow was dropped by the end of January 2016, when in fact the discussions went on for several more months. Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress, among other charges, and was sentenced to three years in federal prison.
Schiff said he wants to speak to everyone involved in the Moscow Project and see if he can find any wrongdoing which could be pinned on the president, CBS News reports.
“But we also will want to speak with the accountants, the chief financial officers for the Trump Organization and others who would have information about the Moscow Trump Tower deal about the issue of money laundering. In fact, we’re bringing you Felix Sater in to talk about Moscow Trump Tower in a couple of weeks,” Schiff said. “So there are any number of witnesses that can shed light on whether America’s national security is compromised because the president has been pursuing financial interests with the Russians.”
The Washington Examiner adds:
Democrats have seized on revelations by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified to three committees this past week, including the the House Intelligence Committee, giving a boost to a number of committees kicking off new investigations into Trump, his business and finances, and Russia.
“We will also have to look at the whole body of improper and criminal actions by the president including those campaign finance crimes to determine whether they rise to the level of removal from office,” Schiff said.
Click here for Schiff’s full transcript on “Face the Nation.”Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.