Schiff: ‘I’m Not Prepared to Say That There’s Proof You Could Take to a Jury’

By Susan Jones | June 19, 2017 | 6:20 AM EDT

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) says he sees "evidence" of collusion and obstruction, "but I’m not prepared to say that there’s proof you could take to a jury.” (Screen grab from ABC's "This Week")

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, said on Sunday he believes there is evidence of both collusion and obstruction stemming from the ongoing Russia investigation, “but I’m not prepared to say that there’s proof you could take to a jury.”

Martha Raddatz, hosting ABC’s “This Week,” told Schiff: “You said recently you thought there was evidence of collusion. What kind of evidence have you seen?” she asked.

“Well, I think there is evidence,” Schiff replied. “I can't go into the particulars of our closed investigation. But I also think there is also evidence of obstruction. But in both cases, I would say, whether there is some evidence doesn't mean there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Schiff said he doesn’t buy the idea, floated by Trump ally Newt Gingrich, that the president cannot commit obstruction by firing the FBI director, who serves at the president’s pleasure.

“If you look at James Comey's testimony, and we were trying this in a court of law, no judge would exclude that. That would all be relevant evidence as to potential obstruction.

“And the fact that the president can fire someone for good cause, or can fire someone with no cause, doesn't mean that he can fire someone for malicious cause. The fact that an employer can terminate an employee at will doesn't mean that he can fire an employee because the employee rejected his sexual advances,” Schiff said.

Raddatz noted that even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has said there is no evidence of collusion. “So collusion between whom?” she asked. “Can you tell us that?”

Well, the allegation, of course, is that the Russians and the hacking and dumping of documents in the election had essentially relationships with Trump campaign people and coordinated those efforts. Now the FBI opened an investigation into that issue in July, well before Congress did. I think they did that for good reason in July. I think they maintain that investigation. It's ongoing for good reason as well.

But I'm not prepared to say that there's proof you could take to a jury. But I can say that there is enough that we ought to be investigating. Indeed, it would be negligent for us not to investigate.

 And the principle reason is, Martha, that if a foreign government -- in this case Russia -- has something that they can hang over the head of our president or our administration that can influence U.S. policy, it is very much in our national security interest to know it. And we need to conduct this investigation.

Now, Newt Gingrich and the president would like us to shut it down before it really is under way. And we are far closer to beginning of the investigation than we are to the end. But it would be the worst form of negligence to our republic for us to say we're going to close the investigation before we can determine whether there is merit to these allegations.

The House committee is not investigating possible obstruction of justice, but Schiff has said he would like the committee’s investigation to move in that direction.