Congressman Adam Schiff is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. He’s seen classified evidence regarding Donald Trump’s Russia scandal that even most of his fellow committee members aren’t yet privy to. Heading into his committee’s Trump-Russia hearings, there are things he can’t yet disclose to the public. But he just offered a big hint about the Trump-Russia coverup being worse than the crime.
Appearing on Chuck Todd’s NBC show Meet The Press on Sunday morning, Congressman Schiff stated the following about Donald Trump and his campaign’s involvement with Russia during the campaign: “There is circumstantial evidence of collusion. There is direct evidence, I think, of deception. And that’s where we begin the investigation.” He went on to explain that there is a certain threshold of evidence necessary to “bring to a grand jury for purposes of a criminal indictment.”
That last part is not a strategy that Congress can legally use against a sitting President, so it was a clear reference to one or more of Donald Trump’s campaign co-conspirators on Russia. At this point there are too many names to choose from to be able to accurately guess whom Schiff might have been referring to with regard to potential criminal indictments. Roger Stone? Carter Page? J.D. Gordon? Jeff Sessions? Paul Manafort? Michael Flynn? Take your pick. But the real key here is Schiff’s emphasis on the “direct evidence of deception” being stronger than the evidence of collusion.
“Deception” in this case is a euphemism for coverup, or obstruction of justice. Trump and his top people have now been caught repeatedly lying about their Russian communications and connections, some while under oath. It may be tricky to legally prove that the near constant communications between the Trump campaign and the Russian government were in fact a plot to collude in election-rigging on the part of both sides. But when crimes this big are covered up after the fact, smaller crimes are often committed by underlings during that coverup. Those crimes can be used to pressure underlings to flip on the boss, and their testimony then proves what the evidence itself couldn’t.
Watch this clip of Congressman Adam Schiff’s Meet The Press appearance and judge for yourself. It appears fairly evident that, without being able to divulge the classified evidence he’s seen, he’s trying to tell us that it’s the attempted coverup that’ll blow open the Trump-Russia scandal:
Here’s where we begin our investigation into Russian interference – with circumstantial evidence of collusion & direct evidence of deception pic.twitter.com/1tobpyCjkj
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 19, 2017
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report