Schiff: Trump Jr. may have been first to know about Russian election interference

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett Schiff5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations Mueller mystery: Will he ever testify to Congress? Overnight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, on Monday suggested that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE Jr. may have been the first individual to become aware of the Russians’ intention to help his father in the 2016 presidential election. 

Schiff spoke to MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” following a new report in The New York Times that said Trump Jr. had been told in an email that harmful information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren policy ideas show signs of paying off Biden at campaign kickoff event: I don't have to be 'angry' to win Top Dem: Trump helps GOP erase enthusiasm gap; Ohio a big problem MORE was coming from the Kremlin as part of an effort to help his father’s campaign. 

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“So if this is correct, the first person who may have found out that the Russians had decided not just to gather information about what the candidates’ positions might be or what they might do in office,” was Trump's eldest son, Schiff told Maddow.

“But they had made a decision to intervene to try to help a candidate, the first person who may have learned that was the president’s son, through this email because at that time, we couldn’t be sure whether this was going to go beyond the intelligence gathering operation.”

Schiff noted that the reported email to Trump Jr. came before WikiLeaks published hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

“And at this point, we wouldn’t have known that the Russians intended to escalate that way,” Schiff said.