Trump lashes out at Schiff over Russia probe memo
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump traded insults with the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Monday, a day after Democrats and Republicans said Trump was wrong to assert that a GOP-produced classified memo on FBI surveillance powers cleared him in the Russia investigation.
Trump’s attack on California Rep. Adam Schiff came before a planned meeting of the House intelligence panel Monday, where the committee is expected to consider whether to release a Democratic rebuttal memo. Democrats are seeking to push back on the Republican document, which questions the FBI methods used to apply for a surveillance warrant on a onetime Trump campaign associate.
On Twitter, Trump called Schiff “one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington,” adding that he “must be stopped.”
Schiff quickly shot back that: “Instead of tweeting false smears, the American people would appreciate it if you turned off the TV and helped solve the funding crisis, protected Dreamers or ... really anything else.”
The committee did not release the Democratic memo last week, with one Republican member saying revisions were needed so the memo would not endanger national security. Key Democrats are seeking to put out the document, including the Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, who urged Trump to back the public release and said that refusing to do so would show the president’s intent to undermine the Russia investigation.
Trump would need to sign off on the memo if it contains classified information. A White House official said Monday that if the Democratic memo made it out of the committee, the administration would consider releasing it, subjecting it to a similar review process as the Republican memo. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and sought anonymity to discuss internal thinking.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has said he supports the release of the Democrats’ memo, if sensitive intelligence information is removed.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia as well as whether there have been efforts to obstruct the investigation.
Trump tweeted over the weekend that the memo “totally vindicates ‘Trump’ in probe” even as “the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on.” But that statement found no echo from four committee Republicans who appeared on the Sunday talk shows. Lawmakers also said the memo should not impede Mueller.
“I think it would be a mistake for anyone to suggest that the special counsel shouldn’t complete his work. I support his work. I want him to finish it. I hope he finishes it as quickly as possible,” said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.