(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday that the investigation into Gen. Michael Flynn should focus on his contacts with Russian officials and whether there was "collusion" with the Trump presidential campaign.
"Frankly, I think we're going to need to bring General Flynn in before the intelligence committee, as well as others, to probe exactly these questions -- what were the nature of his contacts with Russia? What were the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador? When did they begin, how specific were they?"
Schiff said transcripts of Flynn's phone calls with the Russian ambassador "obviously will help inform that part of the investigation."
The existence of the transcripts were leaked to the press, apparently by the intelligence community.
Flynn on several occasions said he did not discuss U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration in his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.
But in his resignation letter, submitted on Monday, Flynn admitted that he "inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador." Vice President Mike Pence went on national TV and repeated Flynn's apparent lie that he had not discussed sanctions.
Asked what bothers him most about Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador, Schiff said, "Well, it bothers me that on the very day that the President (Obama) was announcing sanctions to punish Russia over their interference in our campaign, interference that was designed to help Donald Trump, that his chief national security surrogate is potentially telling the Russians, don't worry, we'll take care of it, don't overreact.
"That, to me, is quite breathtaking."
Schiff said the "bigger question" is whether Flynn had a long series of contacts with Russians and did those contacts involve "collusion with the campaign itself."
"It's not a crime to want to reset relations with Russia...but what would be a crime is if there was collusion during the campaign," Schiff added.
Schiff said he thinks the investigation into Flynn's Russian contacts should be elevated to an independent commission.
And he said at the time Flynn resigned, the intelligence committee was "in the process of requesting the transcripts or recordings" of Flynn's conversations, based on published reports (which were based on leaks) that those transcripts existed.