Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, confirms that he has seen “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between Trump associates and Russia during the 2016 campaign.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made that claim during a Wednesday evening interview with “Meet The Press Daily” host Chuck Todd.
Asked by Todd whether or not he has evidence of only a circumstantial case, Schiff responded: “Actually no, Chuck. I can tell you that the case is more than that and I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.”
As NBC News reports, “Questioned whether or not he has seen direct evidence of collusion, Schiff responded, ‘I don’t want to get into specifics but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial and is very much worthy of an investigation.'”
The Trump campaign and the White House have repeatedly denied there was any collusion between Trump associates and Russia, but all that appears to be falling apart in light of recent events.
In an explosive expose this morning, the Associated Press revealed that Paul Manafort, who ran Trump’s campaign from April to August 2016, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to “greatly benefit” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interests a decade ago.
Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse. Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.
“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”
Manafort’s plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.
And as NBC New reports, “On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia had been ongoing since July. Comey said the probe was included in the agency’s investigation into what the U.S. intelligence community concluded was an attempt by Russia to interfere with the 2016 election with the purpose of helping Trump win.”
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 22, 2017