Tapper Pushes Schiff About Collusion: ‘Are You Saying That Mueller Got it Wrong?’
The most committed voice on the idea of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia has been and is Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House intel committee. On CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper pressed Schiff at length about his many affirmative statements regarding collusion and how they gibe with the Mueller report’s summarized findings.
Schiff has said many times over that there is ample evidence of collusion, that he has seen evidence of collusion, and he continues to say so. “You’ve been criticized a great deal for saying that you still see evidence of collusion,” said Tapper. “Are you saying that Mueller got it wrong?”
Schiff answered that there is a difference between “criminal” collusion and the collusion he is referring to. “Yes, there’s ample evidence of collusion in plain sight,” he said. “But that is not the same thing as proof a criminal conspiracy beyond a reasonable doubt, and that I would defer to Bob Mueller’s judgment. And I do.”
He clarified that what he means is not conduct that “rises” to criminality but is merely “deeply unethical, unpatriotic, and corrupt.” As is usually the case, Schiff did not explain why corrupt, conspiratorial, unethical, or treasonous behavior would be deemed non-criminal or unworthy even of mention by Mueller when he said he found no evidence of collusion.
Tapper played a clip from last week of Mick Mulvaney saying that the ethical question wasn’t the thing the committee was supposed to be investigating, but instead actual collusion, and Schiff rephrased Mulvaney’s argument.
“If Mr. Mulvaney’s standard is, Congress cannot look into anything unless there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of crime, then Congress would be able to do little or no oversight,” Schiff said.
Tapper asked again about the difference between what Schiff says and what Mueller said regarding collusion.
“How do you respond to the suggestion made by every Republican on your committee — they have called for you to step down — that you going out there before this report came out and saying that there’s evidence of collusion, and then Mueller comes out and says, we don’t find any evidence conspiracy or even coordination,” said Tapper. “That what you’re saying and what you said is irresponsible, because you’re kind of muddying the waters?”
“There is a standard that Mueller has. And then you have a different standard. And maybe people got confused, and maybe Democrats got their hopes up,” Tapper added.
“The Republicans seem to think that, as long as you can’t prove it’s a crime, then all is fair love and war, that it’s all OK, what the Trump administration, the Trump campaign does,” said Schiff, missing the point. “I don’t feel that way. I don’t think most Americans feel that way.”
Tapper pressed, saying “you have no regrets of anything you have said in the last couple years?”
Schiff said he has no regrets. Then he went on for some reason.
“Now, Jake, you have asked the question many times, is there a risk of doing too much oversight? There is a risk when you have an immoral president, a president lacking in basic character who violates the norms of office. There is an even greater risk of doing too little oversight,” he said. “So I make no apologies for that. And I’m going to continue holding this administration accountable.”
“I don’t think that’s exactly how I phrased that question, but I take your point,” Tapper replied reasonably, because that was once again a rephrasing on Schiff’s part.
Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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