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

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks National Sheriffs' Association backs Biden pick for key DOJ role Bipartisan group of senators introduces bill to rein in Biden's war powers MORE (R-Iowa) fired back at Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel splits along party lines on Becerra House Democrats' ambitious agenda set to run into Senate blockade A Biden stumble on China? 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 FeinsteinDemocrats worry Senate will be graveyard for Biden agenda Pro-Choice Caucus asks Biden to remove abortion fund restrictions from 2022 budget China has already infiltrated America's institutions MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the panel. 
 
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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 TrumpTrump: 'I can't imagine' any Republican would beat me in 2024 primary if I run Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged Donald Trump Jr. attacks Cheney at CPAC: 'Lincoln Project Liz' MORE took that meeting with a Russian lawyer after being promised dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Clinton praises Dolly Parton's cold shoulder top from vaccination: 'Shall we make this a trend?' Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC 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."