Grassley fires back: Schumer 'really misinformed' on Russia probe
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOvernight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Eight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division Four senators call on Becerra to back importation of prescription drugs from Canada MORE (R-Iowa) fired back at Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? MORE (N.Y.) for his criticism of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Russia probe, saying the Democratic leader is "really misinformed."  

Schumer took to the Senate floor on Wednesday saying the panel's probe into the 2016 presidential election was a "whitewash" and "designed to let the president and his lawyers interfere with the [special counsel Robert] Mueller probe and get a peek at any potential evidence."
 
But Grassley, the committee's chairman, blasted Schumer's comments as "absolutely false." 
 
"The claim that there was some secret plan to help one side or the other in the Mueller probe is absolutely absurd. My only motivation was the same as the ranking member’s: transparency for the American people on this controversy," Grassley said, referring to Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the panel. 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
The rhetorical back-and-forth comes 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.Don TrumpDonald Trump Jr. joins Cameo Book claims Trump family members were 'inappropriately' close with Secret Service agents Trump Jr. shares edited video showing father knocking Biden down with golf ball MORE took that meeting with a Russian lawyer after being promised dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote Women's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement MORE.

Democrats raised alarms after the transcripts' release that Republicans are signaling they want to wrap up their probe into the 2016 election and potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.  

Democrats on the committee 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.

Asked what was driving those concerns, a Senate aide told The Hill that Republicans on the committee "have indicated" to Democrats "that was part of the intent of the release."

Grassley told reporters separately that the release of the transcripts could "be a final chapter on just this very small part of it," but he had other hearings planned. 

"Now, as to the Trump Tower meeting, Congress has learned as much as we are likely to learn, unless some new information comes to light," Grassley added from the Senate floor. For months, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been conducting a sprawling investigation into the 2016 presidential 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.

Grassley turned the focus on Schumer, questioning what he had done to help Republicans "get to the bottom" of questions that concerned them and their constituents. 

"The answer is: Nothing. In fact the answer is absolutely nothing … but speculation and frenzy," he said. "It’s nothing but pure political frustration for losing the presidential election in 2016."