Ranking Democrat raises alarm House committee will end Russia investigation

Ranking Democrat raises alarm House committee will end Russia investigation
© Keren Carrion

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee says that he is worried Republicans are planning to dissolve the committee's Russia probe at the end of the year, blasting Republicans for failing to issue subpoenas or schedule witness interviews in the new year.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse votes against curtailing warrantless collection of Americans' data Overnight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted Friday that he believes Republicans in House leadership are planning to shut down the investigation after holding just enough interviews to give the illusion of a full investigation.

"I’m increasingly worried Republicans will shut down the House Intelligence Committee investigation at the end of the month," Schiff tweeted. "Republicans have scheduled no witnesses after next Friday and none in 2017 [sic]. We have dozens of outstanding witnesses on key aspects of our investigation that they refuse to contact and many document requests they continue to sit on."

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The New York Times reported Friday that the committee is scheduling its final witnesses of the year to testify in New York, despite important votes coming up in Washington, D.C., and confirmed no additional witnesses are scheduled yet in 2018. 

"It appears Republicans want to conduct just enough interviews to give the impression of a serious investigation," Schiff charged. 

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyOur sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower GOP takes aim at Comey, Brennan House Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report MORE (S.C.), a senior Republican on the committee, denied to the Times that the investigation is definitively over, saying it would wrap up naturally.

“I feel no need to apologize for concluding an investigation,” Gowdy told the Times.

In subsequent tweets, Schiff warned that attacks on the integrity of Robert Mueller's special counsel office are a warning sign that could mean Republicans in Congress and the White House are planning on targeting that investigation as well.

The House Intelligence Committee, as well as Mueller, are conducting separate probes into Russian election interference and possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

"Beyond our investigation, here’s what has me really concerned: The attacks on Mueller, [Justice Department] and FBI this week make it clear they plan to go after Mueller’s investigation," he tweeted. "Aggressively and soon."

"By shutting down the congressional investigations when they continue to discover new and important evidence, the White House can exert tremendous pressure to end or curtail Mueller’s investigation or cast doubt on it," Schiff concluded. "We cannot let that happen."

Schiff also blasted Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection MORE (R-Wis.), saying the responsibility to ensure the House conducts a thorough investigation ultimately falls on him.

Speculation has swirled for weeks over whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE would fire Mueller as the special counsel investigation ensnares several former members of the Trump campaign.

In November, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia. The month before, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and a business associate were charged with money laundering and fraud under Mueller's probe.

Leadership on the House Intelligence Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.