House Intel Democrats just infuriated Trump and Republicans with defiant Russia probe announcement

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On the day after a Democrat won a House seat in a Pennsylvania district that had voted for Donald Trump in the last election by a wide margin, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)  revealed Democratic plans to make the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election a campaign issue through November.

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Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, plans to reopen the investigation that Republicans abruptly declared over this past week if and when Democrats become the majority in the House once again.

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Schiff said today on CNN’s New Day that the minority Democrats on the committee have created a 21-page document that lays out a lot of unanswered questions, names of potential witnesses who have not been heard from and allegations of involvement by President Trump’s associates with Russia.

Many of the allegations remain unproven, but Schiff explained the purpose of what he called his “status report” is to show Republicans ended the probe into Trump campaign collusion with the Russians prematurely and to lay the groundwork to reopen the investigation next year when Democrats hopefully retake the House. 

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“Lawmakers and congressional officials said the document was intended to show the public – and other investigators – leads in the Rusia investigation that the committee had discovered but not fully tracked down,” reports CNN.

The Democrats plan to hammer home this message throughout the midterm election campaign to show why only by electing Democrats can Americans ensure the truth will finally come out. 

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“We will be submitting to the public,” said Schiff, “a detailed account of what we have learned to date, and the work that has to be done, if not by us, then  by others.”

The ‘status report,” which Schiff said will be updated further in coming days, lays out unanswered questions, unresolved issues and the names of at least 30 more witnesses the Democrats would have called if the Republicans had not prematurely shut things down. 

One area that Schiff wants to probe further is Trump’s negotiations to build a hotel and other projects in Russia while the 2016 campaign was going on, in addition to the reports that there are tapes or documents that memorialize Trump’s actions in firing then-FBI Director James Comey.

Another area of interest is the National Rifle Association’s role in acting as a go-between the Russians and Trump associates, which the NRA calls a Democratic “fantasy.”

Republicans plan to update their own 150-page report on the investigation and use it to show that they did their job in reaching a conclusion that is the opposite of what every American intelligence agency has reported; based on conclusions they reached without interviewing many potentially key witnesses.

Schiff and his fellow Democrats relish the opportunity to show how the Republicans folded the investigation mainly as a favor to President Trump. 

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), another minority member of the Intel committee, told CNN that “We believe the evidence is there and need the opportunity to pursue it, and it’s one element of many other bodies of evidence out there that would help us understand exactly what took place.”

It once seemed like a longshot that the Democrats could again become the majority in the Hosue, which would give them control of committees and what is investigated, but as this week’s stunning win in Pennsylvania shows, the tide is turning.

If the Democrats retake the House, Trump will face a slew of new and enhanced investigations that will make the last two years of his term an even bigger nightmare.

Schiff makes clear it is not up to Special Counsel Robert Muller to explain to the public what Moscow did to interfere in the presidential election.

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That is the job of Congress, he believes.

“We can’t simply rely on Bob Mueller,” Schiff said on CNN, “because his job is different than ours. His job is to determine who broke the law and who should be prosecuted and who should go to jail.”

Schiff, a former prosecutor, has emerged as a powerful voice to counter Republican lies about Russia’s meddling in the U.S., and the Trump campaign’s deceit.

Now Republicans like Trump’s lapdog, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA),  who thought they had the power to just shut down the whole issue, will find they put a loaded lethal weapon in the hands of Democrats who are going to target it to tell the public the real story – and then let the voters decide if they want Trumpian lies or the Democratic truth when they go to the polls in November.

If what happened in Pennsylvania is any indication, the truth will win the day.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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