Top Intel Dem blasts Trump for accepting Putin’s word over intelligence agencies
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, ripped President Trump in a statement Saturday for suggesting he accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election.
Schiff blasted Trump for what he said was acceptance of Putin’s denials that Russia meddled “over the solid evidence of our own intelligence agencies.”
“The president fools no one. He understands that the Russians intervened through the hacking and dumping of his opponent’s emails, the fruits of which he exploited time and again on the campaign trail. He understands that they mounted an unprecedented effort on social media to help him, hurt [Hillary] Clinton and divide and damage the country he is now supposed to serve,” Schiff said in the statement.
“And he understands that his victory was razor thin, and all protestations to the contrary, he lost the popular vote,” he added.
“He understands all this and more,” Schiff continued. “He just doesn’t understand how to put country over self.”
“Or to put it in terms he is more familiar with — Mr. Trump simply can’t bring himself to put America first,” he continued.
Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he wouldn’t “argue” with Putin over Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
“He said he didn’t meddle, he said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump said, according to pool reports.
“Every time he sees me he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” he continued. “I can’t stand there and argue with him, I would rather have him get out of Syria, I would rather get to work with him on the Ukraine.”
Trump also lashed out at former U.S. intelligence officials by name, including former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey.
“I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks,” Trump said. “So you look at it, I mean, you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey is proven now to be a liar and he is proven now to be a leaker.”
Trump went on to contrast those officials with Putin, who he said “very strongly, vehemently” denied Russia interfered in the presidential election.
Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI, have concluded that Russia did interfere in the election, and several congressional investigations, including by Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee, are currently underway to determine the scale and scope of Russia’s interference.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is also leading an investigation into potential ties between President Trump’s election campaign and Russian officials.