Schumer: Senate probe intended to let Trump 'peek' at potential evidence

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad Strong job growth drives home choice for voters this election MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, saying their investigation into the 2016 election is a "whitewash" and comparing it to a controversial House probe. 

"To call the Senate Judiciary Committee's Trump Russia investigation halfhearted is too generous. It has been no different than the effort taken by Rep. Nunes," he said, referring to Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesPolice close Nunes district office as protesters rally outside Top aide in Kenneth Starr investigation will vote for Dems for first time Vulnerable Republicans include several up-and-coming GOP leaders MORE (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. 

Schumer said the Senate panel's investigation was "designed to let the president and his lawyers interfere with the [special counsel Robert] Mueller probe and get a peek at any potential evidence." 

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His comments came a few hours after the Senate Judiciary Committee released the transcripts from a slate of interviews with participants in a controversial Trump Tower meeting in June 2016. Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpSan Francisco ethics official sues Secret Service over Trump Jr. trip to India Spicer slams Omarosa on WH recordings: 'She will do anything to further her own being' White House staff offered discounts at Trump's NJ golf club: report MORE took that meeting with a Russian lawyer after being promised dirt on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary Ironworker and star of viral video wins Dem primary for Speaker Ryan's seat MORE.

Schumer called the decision to release transcripts of interviews with Trump Jr. and others at the meeting a "perfunctory move, apparently intended to signal the end of the committee's on-again, off-again halting investigation." He said that Senate Republicans have "barely scratched the surface." 

Schumer didn't say why he believed Republicans were moving to wrap up their probe. But a Senate Democratic aide told The Hill that Republicans on the Judiciary Committee "have indicated" to Democrats "that was part of the intent of the release."

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care: Lawsuit challenges Arkansas Medicaid work requirements | CVS program targets high-cost drugs | Google parent invests in ObamaCare startup Oscar Archivist rejects Democrats' demand for Kavanaugh documents Kavanaugh recommended against Clinton indictment in 1998: report MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee, said he was releasing the transcripts "to allow the public to know what we know."

Spokesmen for Grassley didn't respond to a request for comment about the future of the probe.

The Senate Judiciary Committee for months has been conducting a sprawling investigation into the 2016 election. 

But, while Republicans on the panel have wanted to double back to Obama-era scandals, including the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation, Democrats argue the focus should have been more on Trump and potential collusion with Moscow. 

Democrats on the panel — including Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinProgressives fume as Dems meet with Brett Kavanaugh GOP lawmaker calls on FBI to provide more info on former Feinstein staffer It’s possible to protect national security without jeopardizing the economy MORE (Calif.), the committee's ranking member — released a nine-page list of pending requests for the investigation, including a public interview with Donald Trump Jr., former campaign manager Stephen Bannon and Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen.

"The investigation has yet to be completed and dozens of witnesses’ testimony as well as critical documents have yet to be obtained. In addition, without the cooperation of Republicans and the ability to subpoena witnesses, much of the truth remains hidden," the Democrats said in a joint statement. 

--This report was updated at 2:35 p.m.