Adam Schiff: 'Last thing' Trump needs 'is Putin vouching for him'

Story highlights

  • Rep. Adam Schiff called Putin's offer "yet another twist in the road"
  • Schiff also pressed the case for caution with impeachment

Washington (CNN)The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee said Wednesday that "the last thing (President Donald Trump) probably needs right now is for Vladimir Putin to be vouching for him," after the Russian president denied that his US counterpart had disclosed classified information to Russian officials.

Putin denied reports Wednesday that the President had shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in an Oval Office meeting last week. He said during a news conference that "we are prepared to go there and explain our point of view to Congress if necessary."
Speaking on CNN's "New Day," Rep. Adam Schiff called Putin's offer "yet another twist in the road" and said "all of this gets more baffling every day."
    The California Democrat also reacted cautiously to the news that Trump had reportedly asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
    "I do think we need the director to come back to Congress to testify, in open session if possible," Schiff told co-host Chris Cuomo. "Then we still have a lot of investigating to do to determine what the President was asking the FBI director to do, and why."
    Schiff said that the memo Comey wrote, detailing his conversation with Trump, "may be among the best of the evidence" in a potential obstruction of justice case against the President. But Schiff also pressed the case for caution with impeachment.
    "We need to decide if members of Congress, and the country as a whole, believe that the President's conduct was corrupt enough -- if indeed that is what we find -- that his removal is not just the nullification of the election by other means. That is really the test," Schiff said.
    Schiff, though, remained critical of the White House.
    "I think most of the country will not believe the President's account. This is why other evidence is so important, whether it is contemporaneous notes or tapes."
    He added, "There is no avoiding having to answer this question. I do think that all of us ought to talk about what a wrenching experience that would be for the country."