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Intel Committee Ranking Member Schiff Statement on Release of Majority’s Russia Report

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Washington, April 27, 2018 | comments

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, made the following statement after the Committee released the Majority’s Russia Report, accompanied by Minority Views:

“The release of this Report and Minority Views follow the decision by committee Republicans to curtail their involvement in the Russia investigation. The Majority provided its draft one hundred fifty-page report to the Minority for review only days before the Committee was set to vote on its adoption. The content of the report changed daily, including on key assessments, demonstrating the Majority’s fundamentally flawed approach to the investigation and the superficial and political nature of its conclusions.

“For example, in announcing their report on March 12, and in public appearances by  Majority Members, the Majority took issue with the Intelligence Community’s  central assessment that Russia sought to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. But by the time the Majority sent its final report draft to the IC ten days later, it could no longer defend this claim and watered down its supposed findings.

“Throughout the investigation, Committee Republicans chose not to seriously investigate — or even see, when in plain sight — evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, instead adopting the role of defense counsel for key investigation witnesses. In fact, we found evidence of collusion in the abundant secret meetings and communications between Trump campaign officials and associates such as Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and others, with emissaries and officials from, or linked to the Russian government. The Trump campaign and Administration’s efforts to deny, conceal and, when discovered, misrepresent what took place in these interactions with the Russians is powerful evidence of a consciousness of wrongdoing. 

“To determine whether this evidence of collusion reaches the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt of criminal conspiracy, we must await the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, since the Majority refused to interview the witnesses and obtain the documents necessary to find out. Regardless, there is no denying the abundant evidence that the Trump campaign sought, and was eager to accept, the assistance of a hostile foreign power bent on interfering in our election.  It is also uncontroverted that the Russians assisted the Trump campaign through a surreptitious social media campaign, an overt paid media effort, an elaborate hacking and dumping operation targeting the DNC and Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta, and potentially through additional means still under investigation.

“Our Minority Views are not a substitute for a final report. We highlight just some of the unclassified information obtained by the Committee, but substantial additional classified and unclassified evidence further illustrates a concerted campaign by Russia to help the candidacy of Donald Trump, and the willingness of the Trump campaign to accept that help. The Minority Views also correct the record on a raft of misleading conclusions, insinuations, attempts to explain away inconvenient facts, and arguments meant to protect the President and his campaign found in the Republican report.

“Because the public must now attempt to distinguish between Majority and Minority Views, we have sought to publicly release the transcripts so that the public might see some of that evidence for themselves and judge accordingly. We are confident that the record is at odds with the Republicans’ conclusions and that this transparency will help inform the public. We also believe that when the American people see the often-superficial nature of the questions posed to witnesses by the Majority and the degree to which they sought to help witnesses avoid answering important questions, it will see firsthand what a disservice the Majority has done to the nation.  Apparently, the Majority fears the transcripts will show exactly that, and have violated their explicit commitment to release the transcripts now that they have concluded their work on the investigation. As recently as March 5, Rep. Conaway, the lead Republican on the Russia investigation, was asked whether he planned to release the transcripts.  He replied, “Absolutely.”

“The Majority claims they are reneging on their commitment to release the transcripts to protect the Special Counsel’s investigation.  This claim is absurd on its face, given the lengths to which the Majority has gone to impeach the work of the FBI, DOJ and Special Counsel.  We emphasize the following: The Minority checked with the Special Counsel’s Office to see if they had any objection to our releasing the transcripts and they expressed no reservation about our doing so. Indeed, we believe that giving the Special Counsel access to the transcripts through their publication will assist their efforts. 

“Finally, notwithstanding the decision by the Majority to end its work and turn its attention to counter-investigations designed to serve the President’s interests, the Minority work on the Russia investigation continues. This week, we interviewed a key witness to the corrupt work of Cambridge Analytica, and received new documents from another important witness. We will continue our investigation using every means at our disposal; to do otherwise would ignore our responsibility to conduct meaningful oversight and insure that the Russians do not possess leverage over the President of the United States.”

The Majority Report can be found here. The Minority Views can be found here.

 

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