Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report

Schiff says Intel panel will hold 'series' of hearings on Mueller report
© Greg Nash

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Schiff offers bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime New intel chief inherits host of challenges MORE (D-Calif.) on Tuesday said his panel is planning to hold a “series of hearings” on the first volume of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE’s report examining Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election.

Schiff said the first hearing will focus on the original counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling, saying his panel has been unable to get an answer from the FBI or the intelligence community on what became of the original probe.

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“We have not been able to get a clear answer yet from the intelligence community or the FBI as to whether that investigation is still open, whether that investigation mushroomed into a set of other counterintelligence investigations, whether it was closed at some time,” Schiff said while speaking at a Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington, D.C.

“It is troubling that we have not been able to get an answer to that question.”

Schiff’s remarks come as congressional lawmakers are pressing for Mueller’s own testimony on Capitol Hill after the special counsel delivered his first public remarks on the investigation last week. Mueller has signaled that he does not want to deliver public testimony before Congress. 

Schiff has for weeks raised questions about the fate of a counterintelligence probe that preceded Mueller’s investigation, which is only briefly mentioned in the special counsel’s 448-page report on Russian interference.

Schiff said Tuesday that “a great deal” more could be learned from the counterintelligence investigation than from Mueller’s report, including details on activity that the special counsel did not thoroughly examine as potentially criminal.

“Ultimately Bob Mueller interpreted his charter in a very narrowed way,” Schiff said. 

Schiff’s panel has launched its own investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE’s finances and the possibility he or members of his inner circle may be subject to foreign compromise.

Schiff has subpoenaed the Justice Department to turn over foreign intelligence and counterintelligence materials generated in the course of Mueller’s investigation as well as the special counsel’s unredacted report and underlying evidence. 

The Justice Department agreed to turn over some of the counterintelligence materials last month after Schiff dropped a threat to vote on taking action to enforce a subpoena against Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrAttorney General Barr's license to kill Medical examiner confirms Epstein death by suicide Justice Dept. says Mueller report has been downloaded 800 million times MORE

“The Justice Department has started to provide some of the materials that we have asked for on a rolling basis,” Schiff said Tuesday. “We hope that will continue.”

Schiff’s public remarks came roughly a week after Mueller spoke for the first time on the conclusions of his investigation, reiterating that the report found insufficient evidence to charge members or associates of the Trump campaign in a broader conspiracy with Russia to interfere in the election. Mueller also did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed the investigation.

Schiff has reiterated the need for Mueller to testify before Congress; House lawmakers could ultimately subpoena him if he does not agree to testify. On Tuesday, Schiff said he has questions for the now ex-special counsel on why he did not apparently dig into Trump’s finances in the course of his investigation.

“It certainly appeared to me over the last few years that Mueller did not follow the money,” Schiff said. “That’s one of the questions I would like to ask him, but there are no indications in the report that that’s something Mueller looked at." 

Schiff’s panel is examining discussions within the Trump Organization during the 2016 campaign on building a Trump property in Moscow as part of its sweeping investigation. The real estate deal never came to fruition but attracted scrutiny from congressional investigators and Mueller; former Trump attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenI'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Wyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Hope Hicks defends accuracy of her congressional testimony MORE pleaded guilty last November to lying about the duration of the talks in a deal to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.  

Schiff’s panel, along with the House Financial Services Committee, has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Capital One for financial records related to Trump, but the president is fighting the subpoena in court.