Pelosi rushes to Schiff's defense

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday rushed to the defense of Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Hillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Democratic rep warns artificial intelligence is being used to 'target vulnerable populations' MORE (D-Calif.) amid a fusillade of attacks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpBooker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Booker hits Biden's defense of remarks about segregationist senators: 'He's better than this' Trump says Democrats are handing out subpoenas 'like they're cookies' MORE and other top Republicans demanding that the House Intelligence Committee chairman vacate his seat on the panel — or resign from Congress altogether.
 
Pelosi said Schiff's GOP critics are launching desperate attacks to distract from the facts surrounding Trump's dealings with Russian figures both during and since the 2016 campaign — an issue Schiff and committee Democrats continue to investigate.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
"What is the president afraid of? Is he afraid of the truth, that he would go after ... a respected chairman of a committee in the Congress? I think they're just scaredy cats; they just don't know what to do. So they have to make an attack," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
 
"It's their own insecurity, their own fear of the truth, their fear of the facts, and their fear of an effective patriotic leader, in his measured way, who's going to make sure the American people know the truth," she added.
 
Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence panel throughout Trump's presidency, came under fire from Republicans this week following the end of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE's 22-month investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. In a brief outline of Mueller's findings, released Sunday, Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrPelosi says she will view less-redacted version of Mueller report Pelosi says she will view less-redacted version of Mueller report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump's reelection message: Promises kept MORE said the exhaustive probe found no criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump's team.
 
Throughout the Mueller investigation, Schiff was a frequent guest on cable news programs, where he asserted there was already enough evidence to conclude that Trump had "colluded" with Moscow to help his presidential victory — a message he reiterated this week.
 
“There was a big difference between whether there was evidence of collusion — and I think that evidence is in plain sight — and whether you can establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a criminal conspiracy,” he told CNN on Monday.
 
All nine Republican members of the Intelligence Committee delivered a letter to Schiff on Thursday urging him to relinquish his gavel.
 
 
Trump, hours earlier, had called on Schiff to resign from Congress.
 
"Congressman Adam Schiff, who spent two years knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking, should be forced to resign from Congress!" Trump tweeted.
 
A defiant Schiff confronted his critics head on Thursday, accusing Republicans of whitewashing well-established contacts between Russian figures and Trump's campaign during the campaign, including a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with the president's eldest son.
 
 
Almost two years ago, Nunes had publicly recused himself from the investigation into Russia's election meddling after the Ethics Committee opened its own probe into whether he had disclosed classified information. Pelosi on Thursday said the recusal was a charade, suggesting Nunes was working behind the scenes to protect his White House ally all along.
 
"He should have recused himself. He gave you the impression that he recused himself, but he never did," she said. "He acted in a very bad way."