Published: Thu, February 07, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Schiff: 'I Can Understand' Why Trump Is Terrified Of Investigations

Schiff: 'I Can Understand' Why Trump Is Terrified Of Investigations

"He's just a political hack who's trying to build a name for himself", Trump said on camera.

"It's called presidential harassment", Trump said Wednesday.

Republicans ended the committee's investigation in April 2018, announcing there was no evidence that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian government operatives to influence the election.

Schiff told reporters following a Wednesday meeting by the House Intelligence Committee, which he now chairs, that in accordance with promises made after the November 2018 election, the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election would be reopened.

Schiff told reporters this will "allow us to investigate any credible allegation that financial interests or other interests are driving decision-making of the president or anyone in the administration".

The committee voted on the step to release the transcripts Wednesday at its organizational meeting, where it announced it will relaunch the probe and focus on five key areas of interest.

Schiff said that while special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into the episode, the intelligence committee "must fulfill its responsibility to provide the American people with a comprehensive accounting of what happened, and what the United States must do to protect itself from future interference and malign influence operations".

In remarks to the press following the newly constituted committee's first organizational meeting on Wednesday, Schiff fired back. The investigation, Schiff said, would also explore whether Trump or his associates have "sought to influence USA government policy in service of foreign interests" and any potential obstruction into the various investigations. Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to the House and Senate intelligence committees about his role in a Trump business proposal in Moscow.

He was sentenced to three years in prison. Stone is also charged with obstructing the House probe by encouraging one of his associates, NY radio host Randy Credico, to refuse to testify before the House panel in an effort to hide Stone's false statements.

In December, the committee voted to release to the special counsel a transcript of testimony provided by Roger Stone, a former Mr. Trump campaign associate.

In the previous Congress, Schiff tried to send the unredacted transcripts to Mueller, but was stifled by Republicans, who said that Mueller's office had not requested them, CNN noted.

It is unclear if the special counsel has explicitly requested access to any additional transcripts.

Democratic lawmakers have previously cast doubt on the congressional testimony of the president's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and his son-in-law and senior adivser, Jared Kushner, among others.

Democrats complained forcefully a year ago that Republicans had blocked their effort and denied their request to subpoena key witnesses.

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