Schiff knocks Trump: Negotiations over Moscow property not 'very cool'

Schiff knocks Trump: Negotiations over Moscow property not 'very cool'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffIntel panel expects to refer more cases of suspected lying to Mueller Adam Schiff: Justice should ‘re-examine’ whether it can indict sitting president Democrats signal growing interest in examining ties between NRA, Russia MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed MORE's negotiations during the 2016 election to build a property in Moscow were "very compromising."

"Whether it was legal or not remains to be seen. It certainly wasn’t very cool. More than that, it was very compromising of our country," Schiff said on ABC's "This Week."

"In order for this Trump Tower deal to go through, sanctions had to be lifted on a Russian state bank. At the same time Donald Trump is out there pushing to lift sanctions on Russia and this bank," he continued. "There’s no way to describe that as cool or ethical or in the national interest."

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Schiff, the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a frequent Trump antagonist, was responding directly to the president's assertion that his business ties during the campaign were "very legal & very cool."

The president was on the defensive after Michael Cohen, who served as Trump's personal attorney for years, pleaded guilty last week to one count of making false statements to Congress related to his testimony about communications with Russia during the 2016 presidential race. He agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE as part of his plea.

The longtime Trump Organization employee said he was untruthful about his involvement in plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in order to remain loyal to the president and consistent with his “political message.”

Cohen previously told Congress that negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, but emails showed that he continued to talk with a Russian developer about the project into the summer of 2016 and kept Trump informed of the talks amid the presidential campaign.

Trump slammed Cohen as a "weak person" and downplayed the significance of the Trump Tower talks. He has insisted he did not collude with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

Schiff suggested Sunday that Mueller may have wanted to get Cohen's testimony on the record in case his investigation is shut down in the near future.