Appearing on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told host Jake Tapper that there is currently no evidence suggesting Team Trump colluded with the Russians during the election:
TAPPER: "And the big issue, of course, is whether or not there was collusion among members of the Trump campaign – or surrounding the Trump campaign, Trump advisors. Can you say definitively that there was collusion, there were people affiliated with the Trump campaign who were working with Russians to time the release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton that had been hacked – either from John Podesta or the DNC?"
SCHIFF: "I don't think we can say anything definitively at this point. We are still at the very early stage of the investigation. The only thing I can say is that it would be irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this. We really need to find out exactly what the Russians did because one of the most important conclusions the intelligence community reached is that they are going to do this again to the United States ... but it's way premature to be reaching conclusions."
With multiple investigations into the Russian influence campaign ongoing, new information is being released to the public on a near-daily basis. Despite the continued digging, however, no conclusive evidence has been found that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to "hack the election," as progressives are fond of saying.
Despite the lack of hard evidence, the narrative remains that Trump is in bed with Putin. Such a conclusion may eventually be reached if the evidence points in that direction. As of yet, however, the investigators have found next to nothing.
Why then, are many Americans convinced that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia?
One way this narrative is pushed is by political leaders releasing statements, and publishing tweets or videos that sound incriminating, but actually aren't.
Rep. Adam Schiff contributes to this brilliantly with tweets like this:
Schiff's choice of words implies facts are not being followed, and thus, individuals surrounding Trump may be engaging in some ambiguous subterfuge.
The text is followed by a video in which Schiff speaks sternly and with solemnity, eyes on the camera:
"Hello, I'm congressman Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Last summer, a foreign power intervened in our presidential election in an effort to influence the outcome on behalf of one of the candidates. That power was Russia, and that candidate was Donald J. Trump – now president of the United States.
This is not a story made up to discredit Mr. Trump, but the consensus conclusion of the entire U.S. intelligence community. More ominously, the intelligence community has concluded that Vladimir Putin ordered this meddling, and that he will do it again.
Congress has launched investigations into how the Russians intervened, how we must protect our democracy in the future, and whether persons affiliated with the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in this effort to undermine our democracy.
During this week's hearing, FBI director Comey revealed for the first time that he is conducting an investigation into whether Trump campaign personnel coordinated their efforts with the Russians, or acted as agents of a foreign power.
The FBI investigation began in July of last year, based on credible information or evidence to warrant that extraordinary step. The timing is significant. It was in July that Paul Manafort was Trump campaign manager; that Trump foreign policy advisor, Carter Page, traveled to Moscow; that the Trump campaign intervened to defeat a provision in the Republican Party platform hostile to Russian interests in Ukraine; and most significant, it was in July when Russia began weaponizing the information it had stolen in an effort to attack Hillary Clinton...
The president believes this is an attempt to undermine his legitimacy or credibility. It is not. Only the president is capable of doing that, and regrettably, he is at great risk of doing so..."
Schiff goes on to speak about Trump's "wiretapping" claim, and then asks the president to "never again [advance] claims that you know, or should know, are simply not true."
In that one tweet (video included), Rep. Schiff kicks up a great deal of dust without really saying anything truly damning. The evidence Schiff references is circumstantial, but the way in which he references it makes it come across as conclusive.
This doesn't mean all avenues shouldn't be pursued and investigated regarding Team Trump and Russia. However, the manner in which Schiff has chosen to disseminate information regarding the ongoing investigations is a common tactic used by progressives who want to destroy an enemy.
Kick up enough dust, and that's all anyone can see.