A Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the panel’s Democratic leader must resign his chairmanship due to his rhetoric about the Mueller investigation, which officially concluded last week with no apparent smoking gun of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Republican Rep. Mike Turner joined two of his House Republican leaders who have already called for House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to step down, saying his “leadership is compromised.”
“I do believe he needs to step aside. I think that his leadership is compromised and it’s compromised, as I was saying, for three reasons,” Turner, who represents Ohio, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” Tuesday.
“One, he has stood in front of the American people and said things that were not true. Two, he’s attacked his fellow Republicans on the committee and been divisive and saying things about the Republicans on the committee that aren’t true. And the third thing is he’s transformed the committee from its focus, which is protecting our national security and the intelligence community, to being a vendetta against (President Donald Trump’s) family and even the Trump campaign.”
Turner declined to say who he would want to replace Schiff should he step down, instead saying “obviously that’s (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi’s decision to make.” Asked if she still had confidence in Schiff on Monday, Pelosi responded, “Oh, please.” Schiff has also dismissed Republicans’ calls for him to step side, telling CNN’s Manu Raju he is “more than used to attacks by my GOP colleagues and I would expect nothing less.”
Turner also said Schiff’s statements about potential Russian collusion should be a reason for him to step down.
“He wasn’t being straight with the American public or with you. When we would have hearings in the (Intelligence) Committee on the Trump campaign and coordination, we would hear witness after witness, as you now know, come in and say, ‘I have no evidence of collusion, I don’t know anyone else who has evidence of collusion.’ And he would walk out to the cameras and say, ‘we’re getting close,’” he said.
Last month, Schiff told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that “you can see evidence in plain sight on the issue of collusion, pretty compelling evidence. Now, there’s a difference between seeing evidence of collusion and being able to prove a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt.”
At the time, Schiff, a California Democrat, pointed to a June 2016 meeting between senior Trump campaign officials and Russians purportedly offering Kremlin dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“All of this is evidence of collusion. And you either have to look the other way to say it isn’t, or you have to have a different word for it, because it is a corrupt dealing with a foreign adversary during a campaign,” Schiff said then.
Special counsel Robert Mueller did not find Trump’s campaign or associates conspired with Russia, Attorney General William Barr said Sunday. Mueller’s investigation of whether the President committed obstruction of justice did not conclude the President committed a crime, but it also “does not exonerate him,” Barr quoted from Mueller’s report.
Barr explained in a summary to Congress about the investigation that after reviewing Mueller’s report and consulting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he concluded that based on the evidence developed during the special counsel’s investigation and federal charging guidelines, the Justice Department couldn’t make a prosecutable case against the President for obstruction. And that conclusion was reached without regard to the Department’s generally recognized policy of not indicting a sitting president.
Schiff, along with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, and House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, noted in a statement Sunday that Mueller, whose full report is still not public, declined to prosecute on a conspiracy to join with Russia’s “online disinformation and hacking and dissemination efforts,” while arguing they still need to know more from Mueller’s report and underlying evidence.
“Although we have confidence that Special Counsel Mueller made the right prosecutorial judgment in these two specific areas — notwithstanding the very public evidence of Trump campaign contact with and willingness to receive support from Russian agents — it will be vital for the country and the Congress to evaluate the full body of evidence collected by the Special Counsel, including all information gathered of a counterintelligence nature,” the chairmen said.
On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, also called for Schiff’s resignation from the committee, citing the claims he made about “evidence” of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
“Chairman Schiff said he had more than circumstantial evidence that there was collusion. Whether he was misleading people or he was misled himself, he ought to be held accountable,” Scalise told reporters Monday.
CNN’s Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.