Bipartisan House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations found no “direct evidence” that President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election.
The senate committee interviewed more than 200 witnesses and reviewed more than 300,000 documents before reaching its conclusion. Since then, senate Democrats have tried to poke holes in the claims by pointing out that “direct evidence” is rare and given the same weight has circumstantial evidence. House Democrats, led by new committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), have vowed to continue investigating anything they can to prove Trump has committed a crime — even using congressional authority to subpoena Trump’s tax returns.
In response to Schiff’s determination to find a crime, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) released a series of questions for his Democrat colleague.
“Chairman Schiff stated in March of 2017, he had evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and that his ‘evidence’ was more than circumstantial but not quite direct. To date Chairman Schiff has produced no evidence to support that claim,” the Republican leader posted on his blog.
Schiff has come under scrutiny after it was reported that he had a chance encounter with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson last summer during the Aspen Security Forum. This meeting between the two men occurred before Simpson testified before congress in November 2017 regarding the FBI’s handling of the Russian collusion investigation and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“In addition, Chairman Schiff and House Democrats went to great lengths to keep investigators from finding out Fusion GPS was hired by a law firm at the direction of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Investigators ultimately had to go to court to secure access to who was behind the still unvetted Steele Dossier. Chairman Schiff obstructed and opposed efforts to identify the funding behind the salacious, still unverified report,” McCarthy wrote.
McCarthy also wrote that Schiff sought input from Simpson during his testimony on where to take the investigation into Trump. It appears Schiff has taken direction using claims from Simpson. In March 2018 — months after Simpson testified — Schiff released a list of witnesses he wanted to speak to about the Russia probe. On that list was Cleta Mitchell, a former NRA attorney who hadn’t worked for the organization for years. Her name was mentioned as someone who was apparently concerned with the NRA’s Russia ties. The person who claimed Mitchell had concerns? Simpson, according to handwritten notes by Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official heavily involved in the investigation and with Fusion GPS (Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion).
Schiff had demanded former Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) recuse himself because he did not disclose meetings with the White House. McCarthy believes this same standard should apply to Schiff in light of his meeting with Simpson. Further, McCarthy has some choice questions for Schiff:
- Along with this Aspen Security Forum meeting, how many other meetings did Chairman Schiff have with Mr. Simpson over the past three years?
- What did Chairman Schiff and Mr. Simpson discuss at the Aspen Security Forum meeting, along with any other meetings?
- Why did Chairman Schiff go to such great lengths, including supporting Chuck Schumer’s former staffer who was representing Mr. Simpson – even going to court – to keep secret who was behind paying for the political attack piece on then candidate Trump?
- Why did Chairman Schiff seek investigatory guidance and suggestions from Mr. Simpson, a witness whose credibility has been called into question but whose bias is unmistakably anti-Trump?
- If Chairman Schiff is really interested in who provided false or misleading testimony to Congress, why not start with Mr. Simpson?
- Given Chairman Schiff’s previous underlying rationale when calling for others to recuse themselves from Russia-related investigations, in order to avoid charges of hypocrisy or perceived bias, should Chairman Schiff recuse himself from his intended investigations after meeting with a witness of an ongoing investigation?
Schiff's office did not immediately respond to a Daily Wire inquiry.