FILE PHOTO: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks to reporters as he departs after hearing testimony from Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump, at a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged House intelligence panel chairman Adam Schiff to resign, after Attorney General William Barr said Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation did not establish evidence of collusion between the 2016 election campaign and Russia.
“Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!” Trump tweeted.
The tweet came as Trump’s Republican Party intensifies its counter-attack after Barr issued his summary of Mueller’s probe on Sunday. Barr’s letter to Congress did not clear Trump on the allegation of obstruction of justice.
Within hours of Trump’s tweet, Trump’s fellow Republicans on the House committee used the start of a hearing on Russia and efforts to influence U.S. elections to attack Schiff. They said all nine Republican panel members had signed a letter asking him to quit.
Schiff, who has not been accused by authorities of leaking classified information, responded strongly as the hearing erupted into acrimony.
He delivered a laundry list of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians, from Donald Trump Jr welcoming a Russian offer of dirt on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, to short-lived national security adviser Michael Flynn secretly discussing U.S. sanctions on Russia with Moscow’s ambassador.
“You might say that’s all OK. You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it’s immoral. I think it’s unethical. I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt – and evidence of collusion,” Schiff said.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway called on Schiff to resign on Monday, a day after Barr released his four-page letter.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a close Republican ally of Trump’s, has announced plans to examine the origins of the Trump-Russia probes. Some leading Republicans, including House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, also have called on Schiff to resign from the panel or as committee chairman.
Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Bernadette Baum