Rep. Adam Schiff: Kellyanne Conway Using 'Alternative Facts' To Deny Russia Helped Donald Trump Win 2016 Election

Minutes after Kellyanne Conway concluded an interview on ABC News show This Week, Democratic congressman Adam Schiff appeared on the show and slammed the White House counselor for refusing to admit that Russian interference had benefited Donald Trump's campaign during the 2016 election.

"You heard another display of alternative facts from Kellyanne Conway today, where she could not even acknowledge that the Russians tried to help the Trump campaign and did provide substantial help to the campaign," said the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who had been watching the Conway interview.

"The obstruction of justice in particular in this case is far worse than anything that Richard Nixon did," Schiff said later.

Schiff was referring to Conway's reluctance to admit that the Trump campaign had been boosted by Russian efforts, which included the viral spread of false news stories and the hacking, theft and release of documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee's servers.

Conway, who served as the Trump campaign's chair during the end of the campaign, conceded that Russia had interfered but characterized the country's efforts as "unsuccessful" and unnecessary.

"I think they tried to sow disinformation and discord in our democracy, and we should never allow that from any foreign government or foreign actor," Conway said, referring to the Russian meddling. "They were also unsuccessful. Donald Trump won. We didn't need WikiLeaks. We had Wisconsin. He won because he was the better candidate with the better message."

She continued: "We had a fraction of the personnel, we had a fraction of the resources, and we were very smart about deploying our two greatest assets: Donald Trump and Mike Pence."

Both interviews came on the heels of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report, which detailed the nearly two-year investigation of Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign's involvement with the Russians.

The report ultimately found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy involving cooperation between the two camps but declined to reach a determination of obstruction of justice by the president, although it outlined 10 possible instances of such behavior.

"If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment," the report says. "Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

Still, the 448-page report was unequivocal in its findings that Russia made "sweeping and systematic" efforts to influence the election outcome in favor of Trump.

"The investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts," the report stated.

When confronted with that direct quote by ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Conway suggested the Obama administration should have taken steps to stymie the Russian government's influence. At one point, she credited Schiff and California Senator Diane Feinstein for writing a letter urging President Barack Obama to investigate—rare praise for Democrats from Conway, who just days ago had called on Schiff to resign.

"People were trying to get the Obama administration to be more serious. They dropped the ball completely, looked the other way. Why?" Conway said. "Because the candidate they wanted to win they thought would win. That is a disgrace on our democracy, and it should never happen again."

Read a full transcript from the two interviews here.

Adam Schiff
Representative Adam Schiff answers questions from the media while boarding an elevator at the Capitol on February 5, 2018. Win McNamee/Getty Images
Rep. Adam Schiff: Kellyanne Conway Using 'Alternative Facts' To Deny Russia Helped Donald Trump Win 2016 Election | U.S.
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