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GET READY: If Dems Retake The House, They're Planning Their Own Russia Probe

Democrats are already plotting out how to resurrect a House of Representatives probe into whether Russian officials conspired with the Trump campaign to alter the outcome of the 2016 elections, if they retake the House in November.

The Associated Press reports that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, remains unsatisfied with a Republican probe into Russian interference which turned up evidence of meddling, particularly on social media, but nothing that would connect the Trump campaign directly to Russian hackers. So Schiff will try again.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly due to wrap up his own official probe into Russian meddling in November after the midterm elections, and media with sources close to the investigation are already managing expectations, downplaying the importance of any official report and suggesting that Mueller may not release his findings for public consumption.

Democrats like Schiff, and fellow California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell, say they'll wait for Mueller to conclude his investigation before jumping into one of their own, but there are things they're convinced Mueller has missed and issues that may be relevant to a collusion probe that other investigations have ignored.

Specifically, Schiff and Swalwell want to understand how President Donald Trump is connected to Russian corporations, and whether "Russians used laundered money for transactions with the Trump Organization," creating an opportunity for the Russians to blackmail Trump into foreign policy deals.

The Democrats also say they want to make the hearings public — instead of closed-door committee meetings — so that Americans can witness the investigation first-hand (a sure win for Democrats looking for 2020 campaign ammunition and relevant sound bites). They say they want to speak to some of Mueller's top targets (like Paul Manafort), and question Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr., about his dealings with Russians.

To round out the circle, they'd also like to get copies of Trump's tax returns, though they haven't yet specified how they'd use them.

Democrats right now are slated to take the House, but may lose seats in the Senate.

 
 
 

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