Schiff: Russia probe 'moving into new phase' with grand jury

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDem lawmaker: Putin will take Trump's attack on Mueller probe as 'green light' to interfere in 2018 The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Russians' indictment casts shadow ahead of Trump-Putin summit MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday said the special counsel’s impaneling of a grand jury represents “a new phase” of the probe into Russia’s election meddling and any potential ties between Trump campaign staff members and the Kremlin.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Schiff said the grand jury is “not unexpected,” but it means the investigation is “moving into a new phase.” 

“Instead, if these allegations are true, it’s moving into a new phase with the impaneling of a grand jury so that special counsel can subpoenas witnesses and documents,” Schiff told host Jake Tapper. 

“That wouldn’t be taking place if there was really no evidence, no evidentiary basis to move forward," he added.

He also acknowledged that a grand jury does not equal guilt. 

“I think it is a significant development, not particularly unexpected. And you’re right, you can’t read that this means that indictments are going to follow,” Schiff said.

Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, refused to comment on when he learned about the controversial meeting Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIran claims it rejected Trump meeting requests 8 times ESPY host jokes Putin was as happy after Trump summit as Ovechkin winning Stanley Cup Russian ambassador: Trump made ‘verbal agreements’ with Putin MORE Jr. had with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

But Schiff pointed to the meeting as a reason why the probe is "probably closer to the beginning than the end" and might go on for some time.