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House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff Discusses End Of Russia Investigation

Mar 22, 2019
Originally published on March 22, 2019 6:36 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Attorney General William Barr says he may be in a position to advise of the principle conclusions as soon as this weekend. The principal conclusions he's talking about are the Mueller report. It is done. Barr says he's reviewing it, and he could send the main conclusions to Congress as soon as this weekend. When that happens, the Justice Department says they will be made public.

I want to bring in House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff. Congressman, good to have you back.

ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you. Great to be with you.

KELLY: Tell me. What is your understanding of when you are going to get your hands on whatever the attorney general hands over and when it may eventually be made public?

SCHIFF: Well, at this point, it's still very unclear. This report will concern the prosecutorial decisions that the special counsel made, the - who to prosecute, who not to prosecute. But there is a great deal more information that is of deep interest to our committee, and that is - this investigation began as a counterintelligence investigation designed to determine whether people involved in the Trump campaign, Trump himself may have been witting or unwitting agents of a foreign power. That may have resulted in criminal charges or not, but we need to know the underlying information to make sure that we can protect the country. So I'll be interested in the underlying evidence and not just the top-line prosecutorial conclusions that may be part of that report.

KELLY: And I'll note you have already said that your committee will subpoena Mueller if you don't get those underlying documents. I mean, how real is your concern that you won't?

SCHIFF: Well, I am concerned with the noises that are coming from the Justice Department that it may decide not to share information with Congress. That would be a terrible double-standard. In the last Congress, the department provided 880,000 pages of discovery to a GOP Congress in an investigation in which people were not indicted, the Hillary Clinton investigation. So both our committee, the Intelligence Committee, the Judiciary Committee and others are deeply determined to get answers. We will subpoena people as necessary. We will seek their voluntary cooperation first of course, but we're determined that we protect the public and that we make this as transparent as possible.

KELLY: I want to ask your reaction to a to a comment made by one of your colleagues on the committee. This is Republican Chris Stewart of Utah. He is tweeting - and I'll quote - "early reporting appears to confirm what we have been saying for over a year - no collusion or conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign," end quote. Understanding that you haven't seen the report - none of us have seen the report yet - is that your understanding of what's in it?

SCHIFF: Well, it's certainly not consistent with the plain facts. We have seen ample evidence of collusion very much in the public eye. Whether that evidence amounts to proof beyond reasonable doubt of a criminal conspiracy I've always said will be up to Bob Mueller. He may have determined that it doesn't need proof beyond reasonable doubt in terms of a crime. But nonetheless the evidence of that collusion, the evidence of the relationship between the Trump campaign and the president and Russia needs to be exposed.

I can give you a very clear example - Moscow Trump Tower - something that may not be criminal, but it was a business deal that Donald Trump was trying to consummate and concealing it from the public and seeking the Kremlin's support to make it happen all while he was publicly praising Putin. Now, that's deeply compromising whether it's a crime or not, and it needs to be exposed along with anything else that might affect our national security.

KELLY: One more thing to get your reaction to - one of our reporters, Carrie Johnson, is citing sources at the Justice Department who say that the special counsel does not recommend additional indictments. Is that your understanding, and what is your reaction?

SCHIFF: I think the most that the special counsel would be in a position to say is that he's done, that his office isn't going to be seeking additional indictments. That doesn't mean of course that other elements of the Justice Department or Main Justice aren't going to be seeking indictments in the future. There are any number of redacted sections of Mueller pleadings in which they allude to other investigations that are presumably ongoing.

And so I don't think by any means the special counsel would be in a position to say that's not going to happen down the road. All he can say is, our office is done; we've finished our core mission; here's our report, and any other indictments will be sought by the department itself.

KELLY: Congressman Adam Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, thanks so much for your time on a busy night.

SCHIFF: You bet. Thank you.

KELLY: And elsewhere in the program, we will hear from former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.