U.S.

Adam Schiff Tells CNN’s Tapper There’s 'Ample Evidence of Collusion in Plain Sight’ After Being Asked If ‘Mueller Got it Wrong’

Top Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that there was “ample evidence collusion in plain sight” after being asked by the host whether he thinks special counsel Robert “Mueller got it wrong” when he came to the opposite conclusion in his report into Russian election meddling and possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign team and Kremlin officials.

“You’ve been criticized a great deal for saying that you still see ‘evidence of collusion,’ even though according to Attorney General [William] Barr, the Mueller report says ‘the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russian government in its election interference activities,’” Tapper said, before asking Schiff whether he’s “saying that Mueller got it wrong?”

“No,” Schiff clarified, before explaining that “what I’ve said on your show and others for over a year now is that, yes, there’s ample evidence of collusion in plain sight but that is not the same thing as proof of a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, and I would defer to Bob Mueller’s judgment and I do.”

“What we’re talking about here is the difference between conduct that rises to the level of criminality and conduct that is deeply unethical, unpatriotic and corrupt that may not be criminal,” Schiff added.

The Democrat went on to criticize Republicans Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, and Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for displaying “an attitude that ethics don’t matter” and “if there’s no crime, there’s no foul.”

“I think if we get to that point in this country, then we are in a very desperate situation,” Schiff said.

Later in the segment, Tapper asked Schiff to clarify his position on collusion in light of Mueller’s findings.

“There is a standard that Mueller has. And then you have a different standard. And maybe people got confused, and maybe Democrats got their hopes up,” the host noted.

Schiff responded: “The Republicans seem to think that, as long as you can’t prove it’s a crime, then all is fair love and war, that it’s all OK, what the Trump administration, the Trump campaign does. I don’t feel that way. I don’t think most Americans feel that way.”

Earlier this month, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that only 29 percent of Americans believe Trump has been cleared of all wrongdoing based on “information available so far from the Mueller report.” Another 40 percent of respondents said the Mueller report does not clear Trump, while 31 percent said they were unsure either way.

The poll was conducted with 1000 adults between March 25 to 27, shortly after Barr released his four-page summary of the recently finished Mueller report.

Some members of Mueller’s investigation team pushed back on Barr’s summary last week, claiming that it did not properly represent the special counsel’s findings, which they reportedly said was more troubling for the president than the summary led on. The revelation has only fuelled demands for the full almost-400 page Mueller report to be made public.

Barr’s summary revealed the “special counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election,” but when it came to the issue of obstruction of justice, Barr said Mueller’s report neither exonerates nor indicts the president.

After Barr dropped the summary last month, Trump tweeted: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 9 Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Sunday told CNN's Jake Tapper that "there's ample evidence of collusion in plain sight,” after he was asked by the host whether he believed special counsel Robert "Mueller got it wrong." CNN/Screenshot

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