In a blockbuster editorial published late Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal claims that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who spearheaded House Democrats’ inquirty into whether the Trump campaign impermissibly collaborated with Russian officials to impact the outcome of the 2016 presidential election knew from the outset that the accusations were without evidence.
Schiff, the WSJ says, pursued the case anyway.
“The House Intelligence Committee last week released 57 transcripts of interviews it conducted in its investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. The committee probe started in January 2017 under then-Chair Devin Nunes and concluded in March 2018 with a report finding no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin,” the WSJ editorial board noted. “Most of the transcripts were ready for release long ago, but Mr. Schiff oddly refused to release them after he became chairman in 2019. He only released them last week when the White House threatened to do it first.”
Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell delivered the transcripts to media earlier this week.
“From the earliest days of the collusion narrative,” the WSJ says, Schiff knew the evidence did not bear out that the Trump campaign, nor the Trump transition team, ever meddled in the election at the behest (or with the cooperation) of Russian officials, even though he suggested to several major news outlets that he had conclusive evidence of a crime.
“The Russians offered help, the campaign accepted help. The Russians gave help and the President made full use of that help,” Schiff told CNN.
The Wall Street Journal reviewed the transcripts only to find that everyone from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed that there was no conclusive evidence of Trump-Russia collaboration.
“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election,” Clapper reportedly told Schiff.
“On it went, a parade of former Obama officials who declared under oath they’d seen no evidence of collusion or conspiracy—Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power,” the WSJ adds. “Interviews with Trump campaign or Administration officials also yielded no collusion evidence. Mr. Schiff had access to these transcripts even as he claimed he had ‘ample’ proof of collusion and wrote his false report.”
Eventually, Schiff moved on from the Russia issue to a new, Ukrainian one, based on the testimony of a whistleblower who claimed President Donald Trump tried to cajole Ukrainian leaders into investigating members of the Biden family in return for a foreign aid check. He never stopped pressing the Trump-Russia issue in the media, though, telling a network as recently as last week that there was “evidence of the Trump campaign’s efforts to invite, make use of, and cover up Russia’s help in the 2016 presidential election.”
Now, as the Russia investigation moves back into the spotlight, thanks to new evidence that the Obama-era Department of Justice tricked Michael Flynn into committing perjury, Schiff’s involvement in furthering the Trump-Russia narrative is, once again, of concern.
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