Washington (CNN)Rep. Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the House intelligence committee, plans to meet with his counterpart Committee Chairman Devin Nunes on Thursday.
In an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer Wednesday, Schiff described the current status of the committee’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election as untenable, and repeated his call for Nunes to step down as the panel’s leader.
“We are scheduled to talk tomorrow,” Schiff said. “I hope that we can somehow get back on track. … The chairman is going to have to find a way to lift this cloud.”
Schiff and Nunes have grown even more at odds since Nunes admitted this week that he viewed documents on White House grounds that he said showed incidentally collected communications between members of President Donald Trump’s transition team and foreign officials. Nunes went on to brief Trump at the White House about the documents, but Schiff said neither he nor anyone else on the committee had been able to view the documents yet, and called into question Nunes’ claims.
“I can only conclude that it really doesn’t show what it’s being purported to show,” Schiff said, while acknowledging that he was just speculating since he hasn’t seen the documents.
The California Democrat said Nunes’ actions at the White House and his decision to cancel, without informing the Democrats on the committee, an open hearing with former Obama administration officials including ex-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, had brought the situation on the committee to a near-breaking point.
“I can’t overlook if the chairman of our committee is going to freelance in this way,” Schiff said.
Schiff repeatedly said the House investigation under Nunes’ leadership is not “sustainable” and said he does not know if Nunes could rectify the situation.
He called again for an independent commission to investigate potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. He compared the importance of the investigation to both 9/11 and the Watergate scandal.
“You’d have to go back to Watergate to find something truly analogous, and we need to find away to bring back that bipartisan ethic and commitment to this investigation,” Schiff said.
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