Trump Tweets on Monday: 'Democrats Made Up and Pushed the Russian Story'

By Susan Jones | March 20, 2017 | 7:51 AM EDT


( - In three tweets early Monday morning, President Donald Trump alluded to today's hearing of the House intelligence Committee, which is expected to focus on Russian influence in the U.S. election; Trump's claim that Obama "wiretapped" him; and leaks from the intelligence community intended to damage Trump's presidency.

"James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!" Trump said in his first tweet.

"The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!" he said in his second tweet.

And finally: "The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!"

(A few hours later, Trump tweeted: "What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?)

As reported, Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, told "Fox News Sunday" that there's "no evidence of collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russians trying to influence the U.S. presidential campaign.

But Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the alleged collusion is still an open question:

"Were there U.S. persons that were helping the Russians in anyway? Was there any form of collusion?" he asked on Sunday's show.

Schiff said at the beginning of committee's investigation, "there was circumstantial evidence of collusion. There is direct evidence, I think, of deception, and that's where we begin the investigation.

"Now, I don't want to prejudge where we ultimately end up, and of course, there's one thing to say there's evidence, there's another thing to say we can prove this or prove it beyond a reasonable doubt or there's enough evidence to bring to a grand jury for purposes of criminal indictment. But there is certainly enough for us to conduct the investigation.

"The American people have a right to know, and in order to defend ourselves, we need to know whether this circumstantial evidence of collusion and direct evidence of deception is indicative of more."

Schiff's reference to deception apparently refers to Gen. Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security adviser, who did not disclose the full extent of his contacts and conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

Press reports, based on leaks from current and former U.S. officials, said Flynn made explicit references to U.S. sanctions on Russia in conversations with the Russian ambassador.