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Schiff: Trump's Russia-Oval Office Meeting 'Mind-Boggling'

House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By    |   Sunday, 21 May 2017 03:35 PM

It is "mind-boggling" that President Donald Trump met with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office and share the reported "nut job" comments with them, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday.

"I was shocked like everyone else that hear [Trump] is having a meeting with the Russians - his first meeting with [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov as well as Ambassador [Sergey] Kislyak – and rather than press them on their interference in our election, we see these images of them having a jovial time in the Oval Office," Rep. Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN's "State of the Union." 

"And [Trump is] telling them that he thinks the FBI Director [James Comey] was a 'nut job' and that he's gotten rid of him to relieve the pressure on him."

Schiff added the White House is trying to put on a "spin" that "he was communicating to the Russians that then he could work with the Russians on issues of importance," but alluding to "removing the pressure on him" is disconcerting after the firing of Comey amid the investigations into the Trump campaign's potential collusion with Russia.

"The fact that he would have these conversations with Russia at all is mind-boggling," Schiff told host Jake Tapper. "The fact that the president of Russia, [Vladimir] Putin, would be trying to validate him by offering his own transcripts is just head spinning."

This shows "just how ill-prepared for this job" Trump was, Schiff said, adding "but also for those us who are pursuing the Russian probe, [it] raised profound questions about whether he is trying to interfere or impede it in any way."

"I think the most important thing in light of the reports are to find out was [Comey] being pressured by the president to drop any part of the investigation?" Schiff told Tapper. "I think those allegations concerning Mr. [Michael] Flynn and whether the president asked [Comey] to essentially back off are among the most serious we have heard.

"I would like to hear from the director about that. I'd obviously would like to find out if he kept contemporaneous notes of those meetings and whether they are any other interactions with the president that made him feel uncomfortable, that made him feel that the president was acting inappropriately, or that was trying to interfere or impede with the investigation any way."

Schiff also stressed to Tapper on Sunday, speculation the appointment of Robert Mueller to lead the investigation into Russia's election meddling means "the congressional investigations are diminished or going to go away."

"Far from it," Schiff said. "The only thing that has changed is our enter point, our point of contact with the Justice Department. But, at the end of Bob Mueller's investigation, if he makes a decision not to bring any charges, he's not likely to say a word about that decision, it's going to fall to the Congress to explain what we found and what we didn't.

"And even if it results in indictments by Bob Mueller, he may not be able to speak much beyond the four corners of those indictments. So, we have very different responsibilities, and both I think are tremendously important."

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It is "mind-boggling" to have met with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office and share the reported "nut job" comments with them, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Sunday.
russia, adam schiff, oval office, trump, donald trump, president trump
Sunday, 21 May 2017 03:35 PM
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