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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 SchiffBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 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 (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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.