With a redacted version of the 448-page report about the Russia investigation from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III released on Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said he has determined there was an extensive campaign by the Russians to interfere with the 2016 election.
Standing on the back steps of Burbank City Hall, Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that although the highly anticipated report did not state that President Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice, the findings in Mueller’s investigation are “damning,” he said.
“Whether these acts are criminal or not, whether the obstruction of justice was criminal or not or whether these contacts were sufficiently illicit or not to rise to levels of criminal conspiracy, they’re unquestionably dishonest, unethical, immoral and unpatriotic and should be condemned by every American,” Schiff said. “That is not the subject of vindication. That is the subject of condemnation.”
In what he could interpret in the report so far, Schiff said there is evidence the president tried to mislead the country, interfered with the investigation and urged others to lie.
Those actions, Schiff claims, led to the deprivation or delay of receiving crucial details of what President Trump did or said during his campaign.
“It made our job, certainly in our committee doing our investigation, that much more difficult as it did the special counsel’s investigation,” he said.
Additionally, Schiff disagreed with Atty. Gen. William Barr when he said there was no evidence in the report about the possibility of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Schiff pointed out that the report mentions Donald Trump Jr. accepted help from the Russians, but a criminal act could not be established.
The congressman was also upset with Barr, who he thought put a positive spin on the Mueller report to protect the president.
“The attorney general did a grave disservice to the country by misrepresenting significant parts of the Mueller report,” Schiff said. “The attorney general is not the president’s personal lawyer, although he may feel he is. He is supposed to be the highest law-enforcement officer of the land, and he is supposed to represent the interest of the American people.”
While Mueller stated in his report that he was unable to definitively determine whether President Trump conducted any criminal acts, the special counsel decided that obstruction charges should be handled by Congress.